Can a landlord keep the security deposit and try to collect damages 61 days after move-out?

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Can a landlord keep the security deposit and try to collect damages 61 days after move-out?

I have recently moved out of a rental property after proper notice. However I recently have been contacted by the landlord about damages that shefound 61 days after we moved out. I have spoken to her on 3 different occasions and the tab is increasingly higher in damages that I did not cause. For example, she states that pipes under the house are broken and now becausethere has not been any water in the water heater it is broken as well. It has been past the legal 45 day time frame to refund security deposit of $1500 and I have not received written communication with the itemized damages.

Asked on August 4, 2011 Virginia

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Most states have laws requiring the landlord to refund a former tenant's security deposit within a certain time frame, usually 21 to 45 days post move out. If the full security deposit is not returned to the tenant in the required time period, the landlord must send a letter with written documentation showing what was not returned of the deposit and why (receipts, invoices and cancelled checks).

Your landlord has 45 days after move out to return any portion of your $1,500.00 security deposit with an explanantion why any portion was retained. This was not done. Her attempt to keep the entirety of your security deposit under the pretense of broken pipes under the home lacks credibility. Why would you be responsible for pipes under the home and their repair?

Go to your local landlord tenant housing clinic to discuss the best course  in getting your security deposit back. A small claims action may be the only recourse you have. Your former landlord is clearly in the wrong in not returning your security deposit.

Good luck.

 


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