When you get ready to move out, you should give your landlord a written notice of your forwarding address to which to return your security deposit. It is always better to give your landlord a local address. Your forwarding address can be the address of your attorney, family member, or someone else that you trust. Always leave the place clean and personally return the keys, and ask for a receipt for the keys. The landlord may be able to charge you for each day that you have the keys because of uncertainty about whether you have relinquished possession. Take pictures or videotape, have witnesses walk through the place, and ask the landlord or manager to walk through as proof of the condition of the dwelling when you left.
Ask the landlord if there is any damage they plan to charge to you for. Make a list of the damages, and get the landlord to sign the list. Depending on the item, you may decide to take care of it yourself. For example, if the landlord says you will be charged to remove trash bags of trash you are leaving, you can remove them to avoid the charge. Or, if the landlord says the stove top is not adequately cleaned, you can re-clean it before you turn over possession. You should then do a follow-up inspection. If you disagree with the landlord, try to calmly negotiate in person and in writing.
If the landlord will not walk through the house or apartment with you (or sign the list), send an email, text, or letter confirming that the landlord refused to walk through the apartment with you or to sign the list. Keep a copy of the email, text, or letter. Later, if the landlord makes deductions from your deposit for damage that was not there when you left, or for damage that was not as bad as the landlord claims, you have a basis to dispute the amount of the deductions.
If you are moving out and did not give advance written notice that you were not renewing the lease or you are moving before the lease is up you may not be entitled to your security deposit.