Is a landlord allowed to not return a security deposit evenly among residents?

In short, the other residents are saying I didn’t do any of the “grand cleanup” before the move out day, but I did, I just did it about 12 hours before everyone else and therefore moved out a day earlier. They’re expecting me to foot half of the bill (the other half to someone else who moved out a month ago) for not being there on the last day. They did about 10 hours of cleaning (at most) and I did 6. I agreed to pay a majority of the cleanup bill, but not 100%. I did not receive a positive response from the landlord nor tenants.

Asked on October 17, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Whether or not a landord is required to return a security deposit evenly between former tenants is best answered under the terms of any written lease or other agreement between the former tenants and former landlord.

As such, you need to carefully read the written lease assuming you have one in that its terms and conditions control the obligations owed to you by the former landlord and vice versa in the absence of conflicting state law.

The ultimate decision will be up to your landlord as to how much of the security deposit will be returned and if there will be any allocation of the amounts to each former tenant or one single check jointly issued to all.


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