5. Landlords may not require tenants to pay in advance for carpet cleaning or require them to perform the cleaning themselves before move-out. It is the landlord's responsibility to prove that the carpet was soiled or stained beyond normal wear and tear -- and not already in that condition when the tenant moved in -- and then deduct the actual cost of cleaning from the deposit if appropriate.
4. Act Now to Protect Your Security Deposit
- Schedule a check-out time with your landlord, if possible. If there is a dispute about something, it can often be quickly resolved by talking with your landlord in person. For example, you could decide to clean the stove better or just pay the cost for the landlord to do it, or other similar items pointed out during a check-out inspection.
- Fill out a check-out form and make sure you keep a copy. In the City of Madison the landlord is required to furnish you with one; if s/he doesn't, s/he cannot deduct for cleaning or damages. If you need a check-out form, or a check-in form for your new apartment, download them from TRC's website at for free!
- Clean your apartment. It should be as clean as when you moved in.
- Take photographs or make a video tape if necessary to document the apartment's condition. Madison landlords are also required to take photos, but in case yours doesn't, you will have your own valuable evidence of the condition of the apartment.
- Get a disinterested witness (not relatives or roommates) to walk through with you to verify the state of the apartment and its cleanliness; try to get a written statement from them or a future address where they can be contacted should the need arise.
- Forward your mail and leave your new address with your landlord -- all correspondence and security deposit returns will be sent to your last known address unless otherwise specified in your lease.
- When you arrive at your new place, take the time to thoroughly inspect your apartment and document ALL existing damage and wear and tear on your check-in form, so that you won't be charged for those items when you move out next year.
3. The Tenant Resource Center (TRC) has some great brochures that quickly sum up rental rights and responsibilities, useful for tenants in a rush and overwhelmed with moving. Check them out on our website.
2. Bugging Out? Think... Yes, Hippie Christmas, dumpster diving, whatever you want to call it, it's well under way as Madison enters the um... magical weeks during which thousands of renters exchange apartments and furnishings. More than ever before, the Tenant Resource Center has a very important reminder for people looking to snag some cheap furnishings while on the move:
- Inspect all items closely for signs of pests.
- No matter what they look like, leave upholstered items on the curb! No matter how new and appealing a piece of furniture might look just sitting there waiting for a new home, remember that cockroaches and those dreaded and persistent BED BUGS love to stow away in the dark, tight spaces of upholstered furniture and cardboard boxes.
- If you are moving and disposing of any items such as mattresses or pillows that you believe might be infested, consider spray painting the item with the words "BED BUGS" to deter others from picking up the item, and spreading the infestation further.
1. TRC activities this weekend and next week.
- TRC will not have extended office hours this weekend due to recent funding cuts, struggling fundraising and staff shortages.
- We will be open our regular hours Monday-Friday 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. all next week at our main office at 1202 Williamson St, Suite 102.
- We also will be at our campus office (in ASM office, 4th floor in the Student Activity Center) on Monday 1-4, Tuesday 10-2 and Thursday 1-4 through the end of August (Hours will change September 1.)
- For urgent questions over the weekend email at firstname.lastname@example.org, find us on Twitter @MadisonTRC or message Madison Tenant on Facebook.
- We will be hosting a Rent Party on Sunday 5-9 at the Cardinal Bar.
- Check out our Raffle on August 15th.