How to Get Your University Housing Deposit Back

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How to Get Your Dorm Deposit Back

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Freshmen heading to university for the first time are often unfamiliar with security deposits. These sums of money that the school holds for the duration of the students' stay exist to ensure that the dorm is left in good condition. They act as collateral, much like typical security deposits for any renter. If you pay attention to the school's rules and policies, you can ensure that you get your deposit back when you move out of your dorm.

Know the rules

Most universities will give you a contract or list of rules to follow when you move in. Violations of these rules could result in fines, which will be deducted from your deposit when it is returned. These rules typically stipulate that you must clean and maintain your dorm, and not cause damage. However, some rules may be more specific, so reading what is allowed and expected is necessary when attempting to get your full deposit returned.

Coordinate with your roommates

If you and your roommate have a coordinated chore schedule, then cleaning up should be simple. However, there could be some confusion and controversy about who should clean the common areas like bathrooms and kitchens. Check the school's rental agreement to see if you are responsible for cleaning these areas. If you are, you and all the residents who use the shared areas need to come to some agreement on how and when these locations are going to get cleaned.

Schedule a check-out inspection

Most schools require a room inspection before you move out. This is when it is determined if you will get your full deposit back. If you need to schedule the inspection yourself, make sure you do it before the move out date. You don't want to do it too early since some inspections require the room to be empty, and you may have to hand over your keys at the end of the inspection. Again, read what the university's policies are so you are prepared for the inspection.

Take care of the trash

On or around the move out day, there should be additional dumpsters available for you to clean out your dorm room. Since you may be getting inspection or moving out on a day that isn't garbage day, you will need to use these to make your room empty and clean. Find out where they are and empty all garbage containers in the room. Inspectors may penalize you if there is any garbage in containers or smells in the dorm.

Fix any damage

Hopefully you and your roommates have been model citizens in your dorm, but if something happened, you need to rectify it before inspection or you will lose some of your deposit. Repair any damage that your room may have incurred over the course of your stay. Some things may be as simple as tightening screws or buffing out scratches, but more involved repairs should probably be cleared with the school first. You wouldn't want to repair something and then still have to lose part of your deposit because it wasn't to the school's standards. Ask your RA if and how you should attempt repairs and he or she may point you in the direction of a housing representative that will tell you how your repair can be done to avoid penalties.

If you followed all the rules, cleaned your room, and scheduled the inspection in time, you can expect to get your full deposit back when you move out of your dorm. That may not happen when you think it will, however. Some schools hold the deposit for the duration of the time that you are in their housing system.


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on December 1, 2014

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