One of the best parts about having your own apartment is getting to decorate it, but not at the cost of voiding your lease agreement. There are certain things your landlord can charge you for if you move out of the apartment and the unit doesn’t look the same as before you moved in there. Any large, noticeable holes or marks on the walls, broken windows and fixtures, and malfunctioning appliances are grounds for you to lose your security deposit, but it also depends on your landlord.
Your security deposit only comes into play when you leave your apartment, so it can be easy to forget about it, especially when you’re caught up in the thrill of first moving in. But it’s important to take precautions as early as possible so that moving out won’t be a headache for you.
Here are some helpful tips for decorating a flat without the risk of losing the security deposit.
Paint with light colors
If your landlord allows you to paint your space, opt for a color that’s easy to paint back to their original color when you move out. Light colors like white, beige, light gray, or pastel colors are perfect for this. You should also hire professional interior painters to get the job done so that you don’t risk ruining the walls by painting them yourself.
Communicate with your landlord
Although there are definite modifications that are sure to result in you losing your security deposit no matter where you go, there are also specific adjustments your landlord may or may not allow you to do. The only way you’ll know what you can and can’t do is to ask. Some landlords may allow you to paint walls and cabinets, switch out the hardware, or put holes on the walls, while others may not. Be sure to talk to them about this, and double-check your lease to see what the rules are.
Don’t forget to get permission in writing and get it signed by your landlord and yourself. If your landlord is allowing you to do something that isn’t normally allowed, like putting holes on the wall, then you should always secure proof that they’re allowing you to do so. It’s easy for them to forget what they said, or they may just decide to change their mind halfway through your lease. Securing written permission gives you security and protects you in the long run.
Prop decor on tables or have them lean on walls
Rather than hanging decor on the walls using nails, prop them up on tables or have them lean on something like a stack of books instead. This is a great way to add personality to a room without having to damage the walls.
Opt for removable wallpaper or removable decals
Decorating walls with removable wallpaper or removable decals can spruce up a space without the risk of you losing your security deposit. This is a better option than simply painting walls since painting can be quite time-consuming and troublesome to do.
Lay out a rug
Sometimes, the floors of a rental apartment can look dated or run-down. Most landlords don’t allow their tenants to retile the apartment, so the best fix for this problem would be to lay out a stylish rug that covers it up or at least distracts from the floor instead. This is an incredibly easy way to personalize a space if the existing design elements don’t immediately suit your personal style.
Give yourself time to pack up
When moving out, give yourself extra time to pack up and survey the entire apartment for any damage. Before you move in, make sure to take photographic evidence of any existing damages that were already there before you moved in so that you don’t get charged for it when you move out. You should be getting everything in order at least 2 to 3 months before your scheduled moving-out date, or longer if you have to do things like re-paint walls. This gives you the opportunity to restore the apartment to the way it looked before you arrived.
Use lighting to your advantage
Some landlords may allow you to change the light bulbs in the lighting fixtures, which is an easy way to change the entire mood and atmosphere of an apartment — warmer light bulbs can make a space feel more inviting. If they don’t allow you to change it, you can play around with floor lamps, desk lamps, and candles instead. Candles can also be used as decorative items to give the apartment a more cozy, spa-like ambiance. You don’t need to light them if you’re not allowed to since just having them around can make a space instantly feel more comfortable and stylish. There’s also the option of buying battery-operated candles instead.
Keeping your security deposit in mind when you decorate your apartment ensures that you can move out of it without any hassle. These tips allow you to personalize your space without having to forfeit your security deposit.