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 need to be returned?
  • What date and time does your lease end, and when must your belongings and vehicles be removed from the property?
  • What are your cleaning responsibilities at move-out? You might want to 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; OR
  4. You get an itemized report and no security deposit or bill for damages that exceeded your security deposit.

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

  • Take pictures of your space after you have removed your belongings and cleaned to document what condition you left the unit in. You should email these photos to yourself so that you 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.
  • Be sure to leave a correct forwarding address with your landlord so that your security deposit can be returned to you if you are eligible for a refund. If the address they have on file for you isn’t accurate, you may not receive a refund check or damage notification. Email your forwarding address to your landlord so that you have documentation that you provided an updated address if there are any problems.

Alabama law says that 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 the deposit is being kept. The cost of any necessary repairs could be subtracted from the security deposit.

Away for Summer?

Even if you do not move out, but decide to leave during the summer, be sure to notify your landlord that you will be away, if it’s more than 5 days. In case of a maintenance emergency in your absence, you want them to take the appropriate action to try to protect your home and belongings.