Is a landlord allowed to not return a security deposit evenly among residents?

UPDATED: Oct 17, 2011

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Is a landlord allowed to not return a security deposit evenly among residents?

In short, the other residents are saying I didn’t do any of the “grand cleanup” before the move out day, but I did, I just did it about 12 hours before everyone else and therefore moved out a day earlier. They’re expecting me to foot half of the bill (the other half to someone else who moved out a month ago) for not being there on the last day. They did about 10 hours of cleaning (at most) and I did 6. I agreed to pay a majority of the cleanup bill, but not 100%. I did not receive a positive response from the landlord nor tenants.

Asked on October 17, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Washington


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Whether or not a landord is required to return a security deposit evenly between former tenants is best answered under the terms of any written lease or other agreement between the former tenants and former landlord.

As such, you need to carefully read the written lease assuming you have one in that its terms and conditions control the obligations owed to you by the former landlord and vice versa in the absence of conflicting state law.

The ultimate decision will be up to your landlord as to how much of the security deposit will be returned and if there will be any allocation of the amounts to each former tenant or one single check jointly issued to all.

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 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.

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