Hello. I’m Ronna, a licensed attorney with 35 years’ experience. I specialize in family law, landlord-tenant and appeals. I look forward to helping you today.
Please note:This is general information and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.
The laws of when the landlord has to return the security deposit depends on which state you are in. Many states require the landlord to return the security deposit within 2-3 weeks after you vacate the building. He can only keep the part of the deposit for actual damages, not for ordinary wear and tear. It's really great that you took pictures because you may need them.
You already showed them the damage when they inspected and you showed them the condition when you moved in. Hold onto those photos!
I don't know what is in your original demand letter to the landlord but if it doesn't contain all of these, you should send another demand letter, this time detailing the following:
- In a few sentences, review the main facts and the reasons your landlord owes you money.
- Include copies of letters and agreements, such as your notice to move out.
- Ask for exactly what you want, such as the full amount of your deposit within ten days or two weeks, depending on what you state's security deposit law is.
- Say exactly what your state security deposit law is. You can let me know what state you're in and I can tell you how soon you need the deposit returned to you.
- Say that you will sue in small claims court if he doesn't return it.
Then, if he doesn't return the security deposit, you can go to the small claims court in your county or city. Many cities have their own small claims courts. I usually advise people to get a lawyer, but most people go to small claims court without one. That's because the lawyer will cost more to you than the amount of money you're asking for.
Remember to ask for interest and also ask for punitive damages for wrongfully withholding your security deposit. You can ask for money up the maximum allowed by small claims court. You will need those photos and the demand letter, so make sure to send out the demand letter as I detailed above.
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I hope this helps and clarifies. If you could, I'd appreciate it if you can rate me when finished.
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Best of luck!
Ronna L. DeLoe, Esq.