How to get your full security deposit back

Not too long ago, we shared some tips about security deposits. In that post we focused on what to do if you don’t get any of it back. This week, the focus is on making sure you get your whole deposit back.

Moving In

A reputable management company or landlord will walk through the apartment with you when you move in, or provide you with a move-in check list in which you record any existing damage. As you’re moving in, take pictures of any damage you might find. If your landlord didn’t walk through with you or give you a check list, those pictures will be especially important evidence and you should share them with your landlord as soon as possible.

Making sure you’re not held responsible for damage that isn’t your fault is the first step in protecting your security deposit.

security deposit
Renting from a reputable landlord or management company is one of the best ways of protecting your security deposit.

Moving Out

It’s a good idea to ask right away about move-out procedures. Again, a reputable landlord or management company will have paperwork for this process. This paperwork work should include another checklist for you, detailing your responsibilities as you vacate. These are some of the basics generally required of tenants:

  • Return all the keys
  • Move out all of your personal things and leave nothing behind
  • Clean everything, including appliances, inside and out
  • Shampoo/steam clean carpets
  • Put everything back where you found it (for example, if you took out a window screen to put in an air conditioner, replace that screen)

As long as any damage is from normal wear and tear, you are vacating at the end of your lease, you don’t owe the landlord any money, and the landlord has your forwarding address, you should get everything or almost everything back.

While they might not schedule a walk through with you when you move out, they will inspect the apartment with full knowledge of its history. Your landlord should have the age of your flooring on file, as well as your move-in sheet, and all kinds of information regarding the plumbing, heating, appliances, etc. When management inspects the vacated apartment, they’ll make sure you followed their move-out procedures and record any damage.

Once again, you should take pictures of how you left the place, and retain any receipts for carpet cleaning services or rented equipment. In fact, your landlord or management company might require copies of those invoices for their own records.

Know Your Lease

In reading your lease (which you should be given a copy of by your landlord once it’s signed), you should find a section or two about your security deposit. These sections will detail what the deposit is to be used for and when it will be returned. Here, you should also find a list of conditions that must be met for the return of the deposit.

If you have any questions or concerns about your lease or your security deposit, you should consult your landlord or management company right away. Ignorance is rarely, if ever, a get out of jail free card, so to speak.

The Return of Your Security Deposit

When your security deposit arrives in the mail, it will come with a letter detailing why certain amounts were removed. For example, if the carpet was brand new when you moved in 3 years ago and now it’s full of cigarette burns (an example of damage beyond normal wear and tear), the letter will note that x, the cost of carpet replacement, was deducted from your deposit. If a deduction doesn’t seem right to you, speak up.

Contact Prudential Realty Company to get information about our availability and our security deposits.

Easy ways to conserve energy and save money

Two weeks ago, we shared some ways to stay warm and safe in extreme cold. In that post, we missed one key method of optimizing your heat: move your furniture away from radiators and air vents so the hot air doesn’t get trapped. So now that we’re on the subject again, why not talk about conserving and saving with the rest of your utilities?

Water

  • Report any leaks, dripping faucets, malfunctioning toilets, etc. to maintenance immediately if you rent or call a plumber if you own. You wouldn’t believe the amount of water wasted by a broken toilet.
  • Turn off the tap when you’re not using water, like while brushing your teeth. Yes, this one is old hat, but it’s an important one to remember.
  • Recycle old water for other things. When your cat’s water bowl needs a change, don’t dump the old stuff down the drain, use it to water your plants. Don’t have a cat? Put a bucket in the shower to collect the water as it heats up. Even just-boiled water from cooking pasta can be used as an herbicide on weeds.
  • A short shower actually saves more water than a bath, another tried and true water conservation tip.
  • If you don’t have a double basin sink, get a rinsing tub to set into your basin, turning it into a double sink. When washing dishes, fill the tub for soaking and run the faucet in the other half of the sink only when rinsing.

Electricity

  • Charge devices conservatively. Your cell phone likely tells you when it’s fully charged and recommends that you unplug it and the charger to conserve energy. Listen to that prompt. Do the same with your tablets, digital cameras, laptops, and other devices.
  • Know your device and how to conserve its charge so you don’t have to plug in as often. A darker screen uses less energy, so dim your screen and set wallpapers and color themes to darker hues. You can use Google-powered blackle.com to save wattage while searching.
  • Because laptops run on battery, they use less electricity than a desktop, so if you’re on the market, consider the portable option.
  • Turn out the lights when you leave a room, and rely on natural light as much as possible to extend the life of light bulbs and conserve electricity. The same goes for your TV, fan, and other electrical appliances.
  • Replace incandescent bulbs with fluorescent or LED bulbs. Even though they’re initially more expensive, fluorescents and LEDs pay off in the long-run by saving money on your electric bill and lasting longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.

Contact Prudential Realty Company to find out about what utilities are included in rent as well as our current availability.

Dining in the Pittsburgh area

Ever since we reported the news that Pittsburgh is the next big food town of 2014, we’ve decided to make foodie news a priority for this blog. After all, if you’re new to an area, it’s good to know where you can go for something tasty.

This past weekend, our resident foodie, Chi Quach (assistant property manager of Alvern Gardens Apartments) checked out The Pub Chip Shop in the historic South Side. His brunch-time tour of the menu included a couple orders of Boxty Tots loaded with eggs, cheese sauce, and various meats; the Welsh cheddar mac & cheese; the pierogi pasty; and the specialty sausage roll.

Not many restaurants, especially ones that serve up quick—mostly fried—meals, make their own tater-tots. The Pub Chip Shop does. And who would have thought that chili and scrambled eggs on top of homemade tater-tots could taste so good? The true star of Chi’s sampling, however, was the Welsh cheddar mac & cheese. Sure, mac & cheese is one of those staple comfort foods that’s hard to do wrong, but that’s just what makes this Welsh cheddar version such a stand-out. The sauce is white rather than radio-active orange, and it tastes like real cheese, not powdered cheese product.

Yinzers (Pittsburgh locals) clearly already love the place, because as soon as Chi and friends sat down to eat, people started lining up at the antique cash register next to the pie case.

“The atmosphere of this place is different, which I like […] I like old-fashioned stuff,” said Chi. “I would highly recommend it.”

Seating is limited yet charmingly old school: metal bar stools line a window counter and a long wooden table loaded up with Sriracha, various other hot sauces, Grey Poupon mustard, and other condiments. For those who don’t want to sit at a big table next to strangers, the food is served up to-go ready.

Become a resident of one of Prudential Realty Company’s South Hills communities and live close to The Pub Chip Shop and other cool places in the South Side.

Pittsburgh’s cold winter calls for special precautions

We’ve just had a serious cold snap here in the Pittsburgh area, and since winter’s nowhere close to over, now is a good time to talk about conserving energy while staying warm.

Whether or not your rent includes utilities like gas, electricity, or heat, conserving energy is good for the planet as well as your wallet (exorbitant utility bills can drive rent up from year to year).

Pittsburgh winter
Even in the cold and snow, Pittsburgh is a pretty city.

Here are some quick tips:

  1. Make sure all windows and doors are properly insulated. A rolled up towel against the base of a drafty door is great in a pinch. Window insulation kits are cheap, easy to use, and work miracles.
  2. Take out all window air conditioning units and make sure all windows are fully closed.
  3. Keep all the doors inside your home open so the air can circulate and heat everything evenly.
  4. Never use your oven to heat your home, this is dangerous, especially with gas stoves.
  5. Contact maintenance if your heat isn’t working properly, a good maintenance service will take care of any issues—both too hot and too cold—in a timely manner and even provide space heaters in emergencies.
  6. Never open a window over a radiator in cold weather: this can crack the radiator and flood your home, and you will likely be charged for the water damage as well as the replacement of the radiator.
  7. When moving, find a home with new windows and doors, and check for drafts when touring rentals if possible.
  8. Never forget the tried and true practice of layering up with cozy sweaters and socks. Hot beverages warm you from the inside out, so while you wait for maintenance, have a cup of tea or hot cocoa.

As long as we’re on the subject of winter and heat, be sure to take precautions for your pipes during extreme cold. Open the cupboard and vanity doors under all sinks so warm air can circulate to them. Keep your water dripping so it doesn’t freeze inside the pipes.

Contact Prudential Realty Company for our current availability and to get information on the heating systems on our properties as well as what’s included in rent.

Pittsburgh named “the next big food town”

Bon Appétit magazine has named Pittsburgh the place to eat in 2014.

The magazine predicted that Pittsburgh’s concentration of farmers’ markets, restaurants, and bars make it the hot new place to chow down and drink up.

Pittsburgh’s staple, Primanti Brothers, with its outpost in the South Hills, is already gaining fame thanks to being featured on Travel Channel’s Man vs. Food. Now, Steel City is being recognized as an up and coming hub for trendy eats.

Primanti Brothers
Residents of Castle Shannon are just a short drive away from ordering a pastrami sandwich at Primanti Brothers’ Mt. Lebanon location.

With farmers markets in Castle Shannon, Mt. Lebanon, Whitehall, Beechview, Bethel Park, Bridgeville, Dormont, and Green Tree, residents of Place Seville, Alvern Gardens, and Sleepy Hollow Townhouses and Apartments have plenty of opportunity to join the Pittsburgh foodie scene. They can even hop on the T to visit the farmers markets downtown.

Interested in moving to the food capital of 2014? Contact Prudential Realty Company at 412-261-6500 for our current availability.