So how do you get back a full refund of the Security Deposit for your leased Office or Industrial workspace?
Doing it successfully is like having a free credit card that pays roughly 2.8% cash back at the end of a 3-year lease or 1.7% cash back on a 5-year lease. That’s a great credit card to have in your wallet.
But you have to remember to use it and know how to do it correctly. This article explains how and will make it easier to assign as a project to one of your reliable team members.
Most Office and Industrial Leases have a specific section noting what a Tenant is supposed to do to vacate its space successfully in order to get a full refund of its Security Deposit. It’s often in a single section but it could appear in several sections. They might have paragraph headings like Security Deposit, Vacation of Premises, Alterations, Restoration of Premises, Surrender of Possession, Possession of Premises, Expiration of Lease or a seemingly unrelated heading. Depending on what your Office or Industrial Lease states, here are the steps you should take to get your Cash Back:
#1 – Communicate early, at least a month ahead, preferably two or more months, with your current Landlord about when you’ll vacate the Premises.
#2 – Vacate your Premises on time per your Lease.
#3 – Make certain that the Premises is retuned to the Landlord in “good condition,” with the exception of normal wear and tear being OK.
#4 – “Good condition” in the Premises typically means performing demo and removal of all IT Network Cabling (if required in the Lease), vacuuming the floors; spackling all small holes in the drywall and sanding them relatively flat; professionally repairing any larger holes in the drywall; emptying all cabinets, shelves and countertops and wiping them clean, including the kitchen(s) and private restrooms; and cleaning all sinks, refrigerators, etc. in the kitchen(s).
#5 – The longest lead time item in #4 above is the demo and removal of IT Network Cabling. You should contact several Cabling Vendors and/or Electricians to make on-site visits to inspect your IT Network and then to quote firm written prices to perform this work per the terms of your Lease. For more details on this potentially expensive sub-project, please see our blog article titled How to handle IT cabling and your lease the right way.
#6 – No repainting or touch up paint is usually required, as the Landlord would normally repaint the entire space for the next tenant.
#7 – Clean the inside of only exceptionally dirty windows, but not the exteriors.
#8 – Make sure that all mini-blinds and window coverings are operable.
#9 – Unless your Lease specifies it, you don’t have to replace burned out or flickering light bulbs.
#10 – If the ceiling tiles are stained from water leaks, you don’t need to replace those, either.
#11 – Gather up all keys and magnetic card keys/fobs from your entire staff and return them to the Landlord or Property Manager in a clearly labeled envelope as “Keys for Suite ____ at XYZ Street.”
#12 – After all of the above items are completed, schedule an in-person appointment with the Landlord or Property Manager, preferably the same day you vacate the Premises or the next day, for a joint walk-through inspection and get him or her to agree and sign off in writing that “The Premises has been successfully returned to the Landlord in acceptable condition, normal wear and tear excepted.”
#13 – During the walk-through inspection, if anything is not acceptable to the Landlord or Property Manager, then find out what it is, get it noted in writing by the Landlord or Property Manager (or confirmed in writing by you), and, if reasonable, repair or rectify the items starting the next day.
#14 – Once the above items are completed, send the Landlord or Property Manager a letter ASAP as per the Notice Provision in your Lease, usually via U.S. Postal Service, certified and return receipt requested, that you have vacated the Premises, returned it to the Landlord successfully and request that the Landlord please return the specific dollar amount of your full Security Deposit.
Getting your full Security Deposit back is not difficult. But it has to be done correctly for a Tenant to claim its free 2.8% or 1.7% cash-back credit card.