Can we get our full deposit back?

We moved out of our townhouse on the 30th of last month. Now, 24 days later, we still have not yet received our security deposit refund or a explanation of why it’s being withheld. We emailed to ask where it was and and the landlord emailed back that she would send a check. However, it’s past 21 days. What can we do about the fact that she hasn’t gotten it to us on time?

Asked on July 23, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Minnesota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You can sue your landlord. A landlord may only retain a security deposit 1) to pay for any unpaid rent, due at the time the tenancy terminated; or 2) to pay for repairs to the premises, necessitated by damage (beyond normal wear-and-tear) caused the tenant (or his/her family, guests, pets)--and furthermore, the landlord must itemize and document the deductions from the deposit. If the landlord does not do this, or you do not agree with or believe the deductions, you could sue her for the return of your deposit--one good option is to sue in small claims court, where you could act as your own attorney and where filing fees are low.

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