As your lease comes to an end, it’s a good idea to review the terms of your lease for specifics about move-out conditions and your obligations under the lease.

  • What decals, keys, or clickers do you need to return?
  • What date/time does your lease end, and when must you remove belongings and vehicles from the property?
  • What are your cleaning responsibilities at move-out? Double check this with your landlord via email so you have this information in writing.

Damages and Deposit Returns

After you move out, one of 4 things should happen regarding any damages and your security deposit:

  1. You get your security deposit back
  2. You get an itemized report of any damages and a partial security deposit
  3. You get an itemized report of any damages and no security deposit
  4. You get an itemized report and no security deposit or bill for damages that exceeded your security deposit

The process for documenting and disputing charges is guided by both your lease and Alabama law. Here are tips to help you understand your rights and responsibilities:

  • Take pictures of your space after you remove your belongings and clean to document what condition you left the unit in. Email these to yourself to have a record of when they were taken.
  • If possible, ask your landlord or property manager to walk through the unit with you to document any damages.
  • Leave a correct forwarding address with your landlord so they can return your security deposit to you if eligible for a refund. If the address they have on file isn’t accurate, you may not receive a refund check or damage notification. Email your forwarding address to your landlord for documentation that you provided an updated address if there are any problems.

Alabama law says the property has 60 days from the end of the lease to return the deposit or give you an itemized report of damages for why they kept the deposit. They can subtract the cost of any necessary repairs from the security deposit.

If Away for Summer

If you do not move out, but leave during the summer for more than 5 days, notify your landlord of your absence. This allows them to take the appropriate action to protect your home and belongings in case of a maintenance emergency in your absence.