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When can a landlord keep your deposit? Here's how to get your deposit back

Posted: 5:29 PM, Oct 15, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-15 20:29:29-04

When it comes to deposits, there are laws to protect landlords and renters.

Pamela Bridge with Community Legal Services (CLS) says deposit can only be withheld for a few reasons. 

Landlords can use deposits to satisfy unpaid rent and repair damages made deliberately. 

But Bridge says landlords cannot keep any additional administrative fees "that they did not disclose in their lease."

Also, normal wear and tear are not justifiable reasons to keep rental deposits according to Bridge. "They can't say well it's going to cost us money to shampoo your carpet."

To prevent confusion, CLS recommends renters and landlords meet for a final move-out inspection.

Document what is being discussed and take pictures of the way the unit looks.

From the day you request it, the landlord has 14 days to return your deposit or give you an itemized statement showing why they are withholding money. 

A state law,  passed in 2017, requires that renters dispute the landlord's decision within 60 days of the information being mailed, or they give up their right to sue.

So it's important that renters leave the correct forwarding address. 

All communication with your landlord to should be done in writing, through certified mail Bridge says, just in case you have to take your landlord to small claims court.

Find out how to do that here.