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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Graphic+by+Meredith+Collier
Graphic by Meredith Collier

As students prepare to move out of their houses and apartments before the fall semester, the question of a refunded security deposit hinges on a student’s ability to maintain a living space that meets their complexes’ or landlord’s approval.
Dhanya Thomas, a senior communication major who inspects apartments during move-out season as part of her job for an off-campus apartment complex, said pet damage was one of the most common fines that residents receive after moving out. She said being up front initially with the complex about owning a pet was the safest route to go.
“People get fined for pets a lot of the time,” Thomas said. “I would suggest definitely telling the apartment about the pet and paying a deposit. It’s pretty obvious when a pet has lived in the apartment due to little tears in the blinds and scratch marks on the furniture. It can get pretty expensive.”
Dylan Murray, a junior English major who will move out of his apartment soon, said he makes it a point to leave his living space cleaner than how he originally found it.
“Make sure you keep a copy of that move-in checklist,” Murray said. “There haven’t been problems in any of the places I’ve moved into and it’s really easy to shut anyone down if you have that list and are able to show that you didn’t cause the problem.”
Moving day is busy for landlords and their employees. Thomas said that it is extra helpful to take care of paperwork and rent payments ahead of time.
“If the apartment tells you that you can pay rent or the deposit or any payments on move-in day — do it earlier,” Thomas said. “Move-in day is super hectic. If you pay everything in advance, it’ll go by way smoother.”
Carlo Bocatto, a senior electrical engineering major, said he has never been denied his security deposit, in part because of all the pictures he takes on move-in day.
“The day I get the keys, I go in and I take a photo of every inch of my room,” Bocatto said. “Something that gives enough detail so you can tell ‘okay this nick was here the day I got here, this little dent in the wall was here.’ I think this is even more important for anyone who has a pet because if they blame the pet for destruction of the property you can just show them the photos.”
Bocatto said he also prefers to do an initial property walkthrough with his landlords, which could alleviate any ambiguity about damages at the end of the lease.
“So far I’ve never had a single deposit not given back to me, but that’s just because in both houses I lived in, we would always have a walkthrough with the owner and when the owner is there, they see me taking photos,” Bocatto said. “Most of them really appreciate it as well.”
Students, who are moving out of their residence halls after summer classes end, can prepare early on, so as to not accrue charges at the end of the semester. Olivia McClean, a junior kinesiology major who lived on campus her freshman and sophomore year, said she makes sure to follow the move-out instructions meticulously for RA inspections.
“More importantly I kept my room clean the entire year, and didn’t destroy the walls by using command strips and [I wasn’t] rough when moving furniture around,” McClean said.
Students should make sure they are completely ready for inspection on move-out day, McClean said.
“Lots of freshmen sign up for move out times, but aren’t packed when the RA comes to check them out,” McClean said. “So then they have to wait for their RA to be free again to check their room. I like to actually start packing a little bit ahead of time. Coming from a dorm and having finals on the last day both spring semesters, it helps so I don’t feel as stressed after my finals. I used prepacking as a way to avoid studying too.”

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