Doesmy landlord have the right to withhold all of my deposit if I did not provide a written forwarding address within 4 days of moving out?

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Doesmy landlord have the right to withhold all of my deposit if I did not provide a written forwarding address within 4 days of moving out?

I moved out of our house and did not provide our landlord with a written copy of our forwarding address. However we were in constant communication via email and phone with them about our security deposit. They told us that after 30 days they would send us a copy of damages and our deposit. After 30 days we contacted them and they said that they are keeping all of the security deposit and do not have to provide any list of damages because we did not provide an forwarding address within four days of move out. Before we moved out they sent us a list of things to do and this one not one of them.

Asked on September 10, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Michigan

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The Michigan law regarding security deposits is most certainly a unique one for lack of a better word.  But not as drastic as your landlord has led you to believe.  It is true that you must advise your landlord within 4 days of your moving out your forwarding address.  BUT, this requirement assumes that your landlord advised you in writing of this responsibility. Did they?  But even assuming that they did and you did not, you will lose some of your protections under the law but you do not lose the right to sue your landlord for the return of the security deposit if it was wrongly withheld.  It appears that neither of you followed the law to the "T".  Start your small claims action.  Good luck.


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