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How to get your rental deposit back

Posted: 4:00 AM, Mar 15, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-15 09:59:04-04
Oregon is the first state to impose limits on how high landlords can raise rents

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

Pamela Bridge with Community Legal Services (CLS) says a 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 is not a justifiable reason 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. That makes it important renters leave a 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.