How do I get my full security deposit back if my former landlord claims that I left my apartment dirty?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

How do I get my full security deposit back if my former landlord claims that I left my apartment dirty?

I rented a studio apartment about 8 months ago; the place was in shambles. Bleach stains on the carpet, dirty crusty oven, leaky pipes, etc. I notated everything I felt was dirty or inadequately cleaned in a note along with a walk-through checklist. The landlord let me out of the lease a few months early and I just received a portion of the $650 deposit, $175, without an actual itemized account of why there was so much money deducted. I called the landlord only to reach her son and he actually seemed very agitated, insisting that the place was filthy. Do I have any recourse in this scenario?

Asked on March 29, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Oregon

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

A landlord may only withhold a security deposit for 1) unpaid rent; 2) damage to the property, caused by the tenant, which exceeds normal wear and tear; and 3) most relevantly, the necessity for extraordinary cleaning (beyond normal end of lease cleaning), required by acts of the tenant--for example, if  tenant's pet left urine stains on the rug or the tenant spilled red wine on it; or if the tenant's children drew on the walls; etc.

If you feel the landlord unjustifiable and improperly withheld part of your deposit, you can sue him (including in small claims court, where you could act  as you own attorney, saving on legal fees) for its return. You may be able to obtain additional compensation, too.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption