Do I have any rights to the return of my security deposit ifmy lease expired and we are month-to-month?

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Do I have any rights to the return of my security deposit ifmy lease expired and we are month-to-month?

I’ve been renting a house for 6 years. We have had problems with the landlord for a long time. We had a year long lease and when it expired (I was caring for my very ill mother), it wasn’t renewed. We’ve been going along month-to-month for the past 5 years. I gave him a $2,000 security deposit when we first rented. I am hoping to move in a matter of months but am very concerned about the landlord’s reaction to our moving and whether I have any rights at all to the security deposit.

Asked on October 8, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Illinois

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Either you or the landlord would have to give 30 days written notice to end the month-to-month tenancy.  You can request a walk-through prior to moving in which the landlord can assess any damage to the premises that may be deducted from your security deposit.  The landlord should also provide an accounting in writing of any damages excluding normal wear and tear as the basis for deductions from your security deposit if the entire amount is not returned to you.  If you dispute the charges, try to resolve it with the landlord.  If that is not feasible, you could file a lawsuit to recover your security deposit in Small Claims Court.  If your state has a special court for landlord/tenant disputes, that would be the appropriate court instead of Small Claims Court to file your lawsuit seeking the return of your security deposit. In addition to the amount you are seeking to recover, your damages should also include court costs such as the court filing fee and process server fee.


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