In most cases, after you have left your apartment, you will be able to contact your landlord to have your security deposit returned. However, on rare occasions, such as if the landlord loses your property to foreclosure or your rental is destroyed for a reason that is beyond your control, you may then discover that you are not able to have your security deposit returned to you.
Locating Your Landlord
Send a request for a refund by certified mail within 30 days of moving out. If the letter is returned to you, keep it as important evidence. Keep all documents related to this incident. Then, speak to the post office about whether they can locate the landlord.
By keeping these documents, you will be able to show that you made an attempt to contact your landlord. If you are still struggling to locate your landlord, you may need help from a landlord-tenant attorney. He may have advice on tracking the landlord down or may have someone who works for the law firm who may know where to look.
After Locating the Landlord
Once you have found your landlord, they will be required under the penalty of law to return your security deposit. Your landlord will also be penalized in some states for choosing to withhold the deposit.
When the Landlord Claims You Damaged the Property
Have your landlord-tenant attorney review the terms of your lease. The landlord might argue that you violated the terms of the lease, but this will also depend on what was put in writing. There are some factors that are usually not considered acceptable grounds for not receiving a security deposit. For example, if your landlord needs to repaint your apartment, this is usually considered wear-and-tear.
Typically, you'll want to take photographs of your apartment right after you move in and before you move out to show that there were no major changes or wear-and-tear to your apartment. Also, if any normal damage occurs, you should contact your landlord to have maintenance performed as soon as possible. If the maintenance is never performed and your apartment becomes damaged as a result, you will want to have proof that you informed the landlord about the damage.
If your landlord has disappeared, they may be less willing to hand over your security deposit due to financial reasons. However, if you believe it's worth it due to the size of the deposit, there are ways for a legal team to help you get it back. For more information, contact a local law office, like Ferrecchia Law.
I am a real estate attorney, and I have been helping clients buy and sell property for many years. Some clients do not realize their legal obligations and options when it comes to purchasing or selling a house or land. I hope that this blog will be a way for people to get information about legal issues in real estate and what they need to know when doing business. Buying and selling property can be complicated, and all parties involved have legal obligations. Know what is expected of you, and you will be able to get the best out of your real estate transactions.