What is the law regarding the return of a security deposit and notice to the tenant?

Tenant is suing landlord for security deposit after more than a year of vacating and after landlord informed him via a letter and in a face-to-face inventory checklist meeting at the time of his departure from the property, more than a year prior, that damages exceeded said security deposit and he would not be getting the security deposit back. Tenant is claiming that he never received notice of such and so by law he is entitled to twice the amount back. Landlord still has receipts of repairs and witnesses to meeting but no proof of mailing written summary of charges.

Asked on August 16, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Michigan


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The problem that I see for the landlord is that he has no proof of the timely mailing that the tenant is not entitled to any portion of his or her security deposit. However the landlord does have receipts for the repairs and witnesses. Different states have different statutes as to whether there are penalities for lack of substantial compliance with the notice requirements to the tenant regarding the security deposit refund.

From what you have written, if the damages exceed the security deposit, even if the landlord was a bit sloppy on the mailed notice, the tenant may get nothing because damages exceed the security deposit if the landlord can prove such.

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