Clean Your Walls To Maximize Your Security Deposit Return

Dirty walls are one reason many renters fail to get back their whole security deposit. However, it is a repairable issue. Whether you’re dealing with dirt, grease, crayons or markers, ink or water stains, there is usually a cleaning product that can address the mess. One of the most important tips to keep in mind is to start gently and work your way up to a tougher solution.

The following article will provide information on the best techniques to clean your walls and other painted surfaces. If you follow these tips, you’ll stand a better chance of getting back that security deposit.

Telling Damage From Normal Wear and Tear

Sometimes it can be tricky to tell damage apart from regular scuff marks. Your landlord may use your security deposit to repaint, but it’s helpful to know when reasonable wear and tear has occurred as opposed to more severe destruction. The Rental Housing Act states that a property needs to be in an acceptable clean state once a tenant has vacated the property. However, the security deposit can only be used for damages and not to freshen a property for a new tenant.

That said, the matter depends on the contractual agreement presented in the lease. The landlord must be specific if he or she requires repainting, carpet cleaning or other maintenance before a tenant vacates the premises. If the lease does demand clean walls upon leaving, there are ways to ensure that you don’t leave permanent damage and maximize your security deposit.

How to Clean Your Walls

Before you get started, evaluate the walls to determine the level of cleaning you’ll need to do. Sometimes a simple all-purpose cleaner or eraser may be your ticket to a fresh residence. Other times, more aggressive methods are required. To avoid any unnecessary work, follow our steps for spotless walls.

  1. Try to figure out what kind of paint is on the wall: If you’re an experienced handyperson, you can probably tell at first glance whether the walls are painted with a semi-gloss, enamel, flat, stain or eggshell finish. If not, ask your landlord.
  2. Dust the walls: It may seem silly but running a vacuum attachment over the wall can be a simple way to remove surface dirt, which is often a main cause of visible wear.
  3. Lay towels or sheets on the floor for protection: The last thing you want is to damage the floor while you’re cleaning the walls. Laying a protective barrier on the floor can catch any water or paint drips.
  4. Obtain a cleaning solution: This is possibly the most critical part of the process. Start by wiping the walls with a damp cloth. Water can usually remove most surface dirt that isn’t ingrained in the paint. If water doesn’t suffice, create a mixture using warm water and a bit of dishwashing soap. For even tougher stains, carefully mix half a cup of vinegar, one fourth cup of baking soda and a cup of ammonia into a gallon of water. You could also make paste with baking soda and warm water. In any case, don’t scrub too hard because you risk chipping the paint.
  5. Use proper cleaning techniques for maximum effect: Start at the top and move downward to cover every area of the wall. It may also help to have one bucket for the cleaning solution and one for clean water. Use a damp — not wet — sponge, cloth or rag. Dry with a separate towel to avoid streaks or further damage.

In some cases, stains can’t be removed with water or basic cleaning solutions. Scratches, holes or deep scuffs on the wall may need to be sealed and repainted if the damage is too great. Hopefully you can catch any issues before they get too serious. However, knowing the root of a problem could maximize your security deposit return and save you the headache of an argument with the landlord.

cleaning walls - Clean Your Walls To Maximize Your Security Deposit Return

Author bio: Steve A. Parker is Director of Communications at Raider Painting, a California-based commercial and industrial painting company. It is committed to providing solutions that enhance and prolong the life of your workspaces and equipment.

How to Use Magic to Get a Bigger Security Deposit Refund

Here is an area of frequent landlord – tenant friction: the security deposit refund. At Decker Properties, we would prefer to make a full refund to everyone. Then there is no dispute.

So we work hard at that goal. We share a cleaning checklist with each tenant that has given notice to vacate. We even offer to have our maintenance staff help with moving appliances to clean under or around them. Further, we fill nail holes for free. So don’t fill them with toothpaste!

Finally, we throw in the first hour of cleaning for free. That way, even if you missed something, you could still get a full refund.

But the topic of this post is to give you one more tool in your arsenal to increase your chances of a big refund. And that tool is magic. Actually, it’s Magic Erasers.

Magic Erasers are a white cleaning sponge. They are particularly effective at removing scuff marks or blemishes on a wall. You simply wet the sponge and wipe. That’s it. There is no need to rinse and there are no other steps. So easy and inexpensive.

So try Magic Erasers. They are available at most grocery stores or hardware stores and they would be in the same aisle as other cleaning products or sponges.

And why wait until you’re moving out? You can keep your walls looking like they were freshly painted the entire time you’re living in your apartment with hardly any effort at all.

It’s so easy, it’s like magic.

magic eraser - How to Use Magic to Get a Bigger Security Deposit Refund

Moving during the Corona Virus

Here’s an idea. Let’s try to keep our lives on track as much as possible without getting sick and transmitting this virus to someone else. If your efforts in this area mean you will be moving, here are some tips on how to do so safely:

  1. If you are using a moving company, make sure they are still operating and if they’ve imposed any restrictions, find out what they are and try to comply.
  2. Box up your stuff in brand new boxes to keep transmission of germs to a minimum.
  3. Keep the PPE handy. Hand sanitizer, gloves, masks may all be needed for moving day.
  4. Remember to keep your distance whenever possible. Easier with the couch than the dresser, but try your best.
  5. Hands off. Prop open doors and consider the stairs instead of the elevator.
  6. Wipe down. Try to wipe off anything you are going to have to touch or have touched.

If your headed to a Decker Properties apartment, such as Catalina Crossing, let me be the first to say welcome home.

moving during corona virus - Moving during the Corona Virus

5 Common Repairs You Need to do When Moving out of Your Apartment

apartment living1 - 5 Common Repairs You Need to do When Moving out of Your Apartment

Editor’s note: Here’s a guest post from our friends at Omega Industries ( Just an added word to the wise – in Wisconsin, landlords can’t require their tenants to clean their carpets. Additionally, at Decker Properties, we’re very concerned with how someone untrained might do repairing their own drywall. If your repairs aren’t going to be perfect and invisible, it’s better to leave them to us. Yes, you may get charged. But you could get charged, potentially even charged more, for a botched drywall repair. – Dave

All your boxes are packed and you’re ready to move out. The last thing on your mind is cleaning and repairing the apartment you’re leaving. But, as a tenant, you have the responsibility to leave the place as you came.

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Gardening Themes for Your Apartment

Gardening Themes for Your Apartment

By Jim Blake

Great decor doesn’t happen by accident. When a space and its elements mesh perfectly, it’s because of the design work. If you’re considering a gardening theme for your apartment, some extra legwork in the planning stages can pay off in the finished product.

The choices you make in heavily trafficked areas are extra important when hosting gatherings. Most balconies have large windows and plenty of ventilation, making them perfect for plants. Here are a few ways to incorporate a garden theme into your apartment, along with plants that will fit any occasion or aesthetic.

Herbs: The Classic Indoor Garden

Herb gardens are the most popular type of indoor garden for good reason. Herbs are easy to grow and don’t need much maintenance. They’re compact, so they’re perfect for windowsills and countertops. Plus, they’re useful, since nearly every dinner recipe calls for at least one or two herbs.

Because they are small and manageable, herb gardens make excellent projects with kids. They’re also dirt cheap to create. Many claim herb garden success using little more than some potting soil and an old egg or milk carton.

Vegetable Gardening Indoors

Vegetable gardening can be a messy endeavor that requires lots of space and sunlight. But if you choose your plants wisely, you can harvest all kinds of veggies from your tidy little apartment garden.

Lettuce is the plant that keeps on giving. It doesn’t take up much space, and you can harvest part of it and wait for it to replenish. Scallions, tomatoes, and carrots will also thrive indoors. Want something decorative and functional? Try a dwarf lemon tree.
Just make sure the plants you pick like shade, won’t get too big, and that they’ll grow upwards instead of outwards. Keep in mind: some indoor vegetables not exposed to bees will require pollination. The beauty of container gardening is that you can move these plants outside for a day every spring.

Indoor Flower Gardening

What’s not to love about flowers? They’re pretty, they smell good, and they can absorb toxins from the air. Some of them even make a nice tea.

As great as cut flowers are, there’s a good reason to incorporate a few live flowers into your apartment décor, too. Live flowers have several maintenance requirements that cut flowers don’t. But they also have one big advantage: Live plants will last!

If you’re growing a garden on your patio or balcony, native plants require less maintenance and offer better success rates. Some of those Wisconsin natives, such as wild geraniums, will thrive inside your apartment as well.

Some indoor perennial flowers can bloom again and again for years after they’re planted. Once you get the hang of it, you can have an apartment that’s accented by a steady stream of living blossoms.

Displaying Your Harvest

Aside from the taste, the next best thing about fresh from the garden produce is how good it looks. Fresh vegetables either on the vine or arranged on a counter give any space an air of color and energy.

Of course, you don’t have to stick to only your own harvest when it comes to appearances. Fall vegetables like gourds and pumpkins aren’t great for indoor growing, but they’re perfect for decor. So if your autumn decor relies on a few store-bought squash to complete the look, we won’t tell if you won’t!

Jim Blake is a lifestyle and environmental writer who enjoys making the most of small spaces. His balcony is covered with a garden he built with upcycled materials.

Peak Auto is Here! Or maybe not.

Predictions are hard. Particularly predictions about the future.

But here’s a prediction that’s easy to make – we’re not at peak auto. Media goons think, and secretly hope, that private automobiles are a thing of the past. We will all be subscribers to ride sharing services faster than you can say Uber.

Just this week there was another article predicting that we are at peak auto, that auto sales are going to crater and car companies are going to crash. This defies all logic.

While there will no doubt be continued increase in ride sharing services and in dense urban environments car ownership may indeed decline, my prediction is that autonomous vehicles will result in more cars, not less.

In order to it to be otherwise, it would mean that for the first time in recorded history, a product or service will become easier to use, but we will want less of it.

There will be more cars because the gold standard of transportation is still the private automobile. If cars were about nothing more than getting from A to B, then any old used econo-box would do. Utility alone cannot explain the predominance of combat ready SUVs that are about all you can buy today.

Clearly, our cars are so much more than just transportation. They are a statement about who we are, or think we are, or wish we were.

Often, meaningless statistics are cited in defense of ride sharing services. Like the observation that our cars spend 95% or more of their time parked and not in use. My toothbrush spends 99% of its life parked in a cup next to my sink, but that doesn’t mean I want to participate in a toothbrush sharing service. Having to ride in a car previously occupied by unsupervised strangers doing who knows what is about as appealing as a public toilet or a shared toothbrush.

Autonomous cars mean that the elderly never have to give up the keys and junior doesn’t have to wait until 16 to get his (or her) first car. The blind and disabled can be car owners too. That means more cars, not less.

Autonomous cars will probably be electric cars, which means cheaper to fuel and cheaper to maintain. That’s the additional secret to why cars will proliferate, not evaporate. Not only will they be easier to use, they’ll be cheaper too.

The world will be radically transformed by autonomous vehicles. There will surely be plenty of them. That’s why you’re going to need that three car garage at Catalina Crossing!

peak auto - Peak Auto is Here! Or maybe not.

7 Simple Home Repair or Improvement Projects You Really Can Do Yourself

Of course, at Decker Properties, you never have to lift a finger, because we’re always here for you, no matter how simple or complex. But for the determined do-it-yourselfer, in a moment we’ll look at this guest post from Emily Khan, 7 Simple Home Repairs You Can Do Yourself. But first, remember to check with your landlord first! And now, on to 7 Simple Home Repair or Improvement Projects You Really Can Do Yourself.

Part of homeownership is dealing with items that need to be repaired as the need to do so arises. There are home repair projects that are also easy to undertake without professional assistance. Presented for your consideration here are seven simple home repair or improvement projects you really can do on your own.

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