Table Of Contents
Renters: Protect Your Rights & Your Security Deposit
With a bit of education and a local lawyer on call, you will have the resources you need to negotiate a fair security deposit and ensure that you get all of your money back, plus interest, at the end of your lease.
Your Landlord Must Follow State and Federal Security Deposit Laws
Many aspects of landlord and tenant relationships are governed by state, federal and even local laws. Below we cover the most common security deposit disputes.
If you’re having a security deposit dispute with your landlord, working with an experienced attorney can ensure that your rights are protected. LegalShield offers the most affordable way to get the help of a tenant lawyer in your state.
How to Get Your Landlord to Return Your Entire Security Deposit
Your lease, along with state and federal laws, dictates how your landlord can use your security deposit. If your landlord is unjustly trying to withhold a portion or all of your security deposit, your LegalShield provider lawyer can fight to get it back for you. Typical permissible uses include the following.
- To return the unit to its original condition at the end of a lease term (not upgrade or improve the unit).
- To repair property damage caused by a tenant (this does not include normal wear and tear).
- To clean the property if it’s excessively dirty when turned back over to the landlord.
- To offset unpaid rent.
In almost all cases, landlords are required to conduct a walk-through with tenants to point out their reasons for withholding all or a portion of the security deposit and give the renter a chance to dispute their claims and/or time to make necessary repairs. In addition, most states require landlords to provide an itemized list of security deposit deductions and receipts for any repairs they claim to have made.
If your landlord is unjustly refusing to return any portion of your security deposit, speaking with an experienced lawyer is the best way to quickly understand your rights and get your landlord to return all the funds you’re owed.
Understanding the Timeframe Your Landlord Has to Return a Security Deposit
Whether your landlord is claiming deductions from your original security deposit or not, at the end of the lease term, they have to return any remaining funds within the time period indicated by state law.
If your landlord fails to return any remaining security deposit funds within the legal mandated time period, you may be able to sue the landlord and keep all of the deposit funds.
As with everything else on this page, you’ll need to check the laws in your state or contact a local lawyer to get sound legal advice.