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N Cal Atty
N Cal Atty, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 9260
Experience:  I've represented both landlords and tenants.
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Is this a free service? What is the fee? How much is "the

Customer Question

Is this a free service?
JA: The Landlord-Tenant Lawyer's require payment for their services. It's way less expensive on JustAnswer than face-to-face would cost.
Customer: What is the fee?
JA: You just pay a $5 deposit now and the rest only when you get a reply from the Landlord-Tenant Lawyer. All of this is 100% satisfaction guaranteed, so you can get a refund if you're not happy for any reason.
Customer: How much is "the rest"?
JA: What state is the property located in? And has anyone consulted a local attorney about this?
Customer: Colorado and no. I've been educating myself using the Colorado Landlord/Tenant statutes.
JA: What are the terms of the lease? Any issues related to maintenance or upkeep?
Customer: No, they kept our security deposit. It's been over a year and they never sent a statement explaining why. I texted the landlord our forwarding address before we even moved, plus we put in a forwarding address with the USPS, but he claims he had no way to send me a letter. After I re-sent our address, he sent a certified letter with the breakdown. It looks to me that he remodeled the place on our dime. We lived there for 8 years, and I believe he kept our deposit to fix normal wear and tear.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: This guy only purchased the house about 3 months before we moved out. Any information I would need previous to his purchase, I would need from the previous owner, and I don't know if it's appropriate to involve her.
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  N Cal Atty replied 3 months ago.

Thank you for your question.

The failure to send you a written statement within the legal time means that you can sue the landlord for three times the amount of the deposit. The statute on that is posted at

http://www.tenant.net/Other_Areas/Colorado/crs/103.html

but you have to send a demand letter prior to filing suit. The statute says:

38-12-103. Return of security deposit.

(1) A landlord shall, within one month after the termination of a lease or surrender and acceptance of the premises, whichever occurs last, return to the tenant the full security deposit deposited with the landlord by the tenant, unless the lease agreement specifies a longer period of time, but not to exceed sixty days. No security deposit shall be retained to cover normal wear and tear. In the event that actual cause exists for retaining any portion of the security deposit, the landlord shall provide the tenant with a written statement listing the exact reasons for the retention of any portion of the security deposit. When the statement is delivered, it shall be accompanied by payment of the difference between any sum deposited and the amount retained. The landlord is deemed to have complied with this section by mailing said statement and any payment required to the last known address of the tenant. Nothing in this section shall preclude the landlord from retaining the security deposit for nonpayment of rent, abandonment of the premises, or nonpayment of utility charges, repair work, or cleaning contracted for by the tenant.

(2) The failure of a landlord to provide a written statement within the required time specified in subsection (1) of this section shall work a forfeiture of all his rights to withhold any portion of the security deposit under this section.

(3) (a) The willful retention of a security deposit in violation of this section shall render a landlord liable for treble the amount of that portion of the security deposit wrongfully withheld from the tenant, together with reasonable attorneys' fees and court costs; except that the tenant has the obligation to give notice to the landlord of his intention to file legal proceedings a minimum of seven days prior to filing said action.

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These cases are usually handled in small claims court, which has a limit of $7500 on the recovery. There is a handbook posted at

https://www.courts.state.co.us/userfiles/file/smallclaimshandbook.pdf

The forms and instructions are linked from

https://www.courts.state.co.us/Forms/SubCategory.cfm?Category=Small

I hope this information is helpful.

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