What to Do When You Don’t Get Your Security Deposit

leaseWhen you sign a lease, you hand over your security deposit as part of the agreement process. When the lease is up, you give your notice, pack up your stuff, clean up after you’re done and you’re supposed to get your security deposit back too. But, what happens when that check never comes or the manager tells you you aren’t getting it back?

It’s important to know what you can do if you don’t get your deposit back. While there are times your landlord was just, there are other times you have options to get it back — regardless if the landlord was planning on giving it back or not.

Discuss Your Security Deposit Situation with the Landlord Before You Move Out

When you give your notice, discuss the security deposit with your property manager. Ask about how and when you will get it back, how much you are going to get back, etc. Refer to your rental agreement too and see what it says about you deposit. If your property owner’s response is different, remind them of the terms in the legal document you both signed. He would hold you to the contract, so you can gladly hold him to the terms too.

Follow Up

Sometimes things get lost. If you don’t receive your security deposit, discuss it with your manager after you have moved out. Let them know you haven’t received it and find out the status of that deposit. If they are not giving you clear answers or seem to be giving you the run around, you still have options.

Make Sure You Were in the Right

A lot of renters don’t get their security deposit back and think their property owner broke the law. But, how well did you care for the apartment? Did you follow all of the terms in your lease? Did you leave the place a mess? Did you do a final walkthrough with the manager to make sure that everything was noted properly? If you didn’t do your due diligence, you might not have a chance to fight your property owner in court for your security deposit.

The Law Gives You Options

If you are in the right and a landlord refuses to return your deposit, you have the law on your side. The law protects landlords and tenants alike, especially from property managers stealing their security deposit. Check the laws about security deposits and see how long a landlord has to legally return it or give notice you won’t be receiving it. Then, file a complaint with the housing authority as well as the state attorney general.

May 2014
POSTED IN Legal Tips