Take pictures and notes when you first move into your home. Save these so you have a record of damage or things that need repair in the home.
Remember, your landlord can only keep your security deposit for damage you caused or allowed to happen while you were living there. Ask your landlord to do an inspection with you when you move in.
Keep a record of how and when you pay rent. If you pay by check or direct deposit, know how to get bank statements. If you pay by money order, keep the money order receipts. If you pay cash, ask your landlord to give you a receipt each time.
While you are renting, tell your landlord in writing when there is anything that needs repair in your home. Send an email that you can print out for your files after you have sent it. Even better: Mail a letter. Otherwise your landlord may claim they never knew about the problem — and they might blame you. Keep a copy of your letters.