When vacating a rental property, tenants and landlords sometimes differ on how to handle a tenant’s security deposit. In addition, the laws governing the handling of a tenant security deposit vary by state.
In most states, landlords must quickly restore a deposit when necessary or risk fines. Any sum other than the rent advance a landlord collects from a tenant is a security deposit. It protects the landlord if the tenant defaults on the lease or other rental agreement obligations.
Knowing the numerous legal deductions a landlord may make from a security deposit is advantageous. So keep reading to learn more about the security deposit and when a landlord can refuse to return it.
How Can A Tenant Lawyer Help You?
You should request an inspection from your landlord both when you move in and depart to protect yourself. You are entitled to attend this inspection with the help of Tenant Lawyers Atlanta. The examination must take place a week or more before you depart.
The landlord must give you an itemized statement detailing their proposed deductions from the deposit after the inspection. This allows you to address any of these issues before moving out.
Any portion of your security deposit that should have been refunded might result in a damage award from the court. In addition, you might need to file a lawsuit against the landlord in court if they don’t promptly return the security deposit.
The court may also grant punitive damages, which are double your real damages and are meant to penalize egregious behavior.
Situations When A Landlord Can Keep The Security Deposit
Given below are some situations when your landlord gets the right to keep your security deposit—
Major Dagame Of Property
It is expected that you would return the house to the state it was in when you moved in. This indicates that you may be held responsible if you leave behind significant property damage when moving out.
You are entitled to a secure and livable residence for the term of your tenancy. When moving in, tenants should take pictures of the rental unit’s condition. This will support the argument that they didn’t cause any property damage.
According to many Tenant Lawyers Atlanta, a walk-through request from a tenant might also include a checklist that both the tenant and the landlord must complete. A copy of the checklist must be given to the renter. To print an inventory checklist, click here.
An Extreme Mess
Speaking of leaving your apartment in a condition comparable to when you initially moved in, if you leave a major mess behind when you move out, you very certainly will forfeit some of your security deposit to cleaning costs.
This is one of the most frequent excuses used by landlords for taking money out of a security deposit. Furthermore, it’s hard to contest after you’ve already departed.
Make sure you have photographic confirmation of the condition of your apartment on moving day by taking photographs of it after you have packed up everything but before you have returned the keys.
Missed Out On Rent
This one shouldn’t be all that shocking. Your landlord may deduct the unpaid rent and any related late fines from your security deposit if you leave your apartment before the rent is entirely paid up.
Remember that a renter cannot use a security deposit to pay rent, even if your landlord may take outstanding rent from one. So instead of believing that your landlord may simply deduct any outstanding rent payments from your deposit in the months before moving out, you’ll need to continue paying your rent as normal.
Moving Out Without Notice
If you pay rent monthly, you must send your landlord written notice of your intention to vacate 30 days in advance. If you don’t, the landlord may continue to collect rent from you after you leave.
You can locate a subtenant by adhering to the landlord’s or the lease’s conditions if your lease or landlord permits you to sublease the apartment.
As part of their obligation to mitigate, landlords must try their best to re-rent the apartment. Only the months it was vacant make you responsible for paying rent.
The landlord may deduct any unpaid rent for early termination of the lease from your security deposit.
Find A Tenant Lawyers Atlanta To Get Your Security Deposit Back!
A tenant has up to four years in various jurisdictions to file a lawsuit about a security deposit issue. Small claims courts can consider cases with a maximum claim value of $3,000 to $25,000.
The court may pay the tenant double the amount of the security deposit that was wrongfully withheld if the landlord behaved with “willful disregard.”