If 2 married tenants split up, how do we return their security deposit?

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If 2 married tenants split up, how do we return their security deposit?

Can we write separate refund checks for 50% of the total or must we write 1 check with both names on it? And if we do that, to whom do we give the check? Both people were on the lease.

Asked on June 5, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you can get signed, written instructions from them as to how they want it returned (get both of their signatures), you can follow that instruction. Otherwise, if you received a check drawn on the account of one of them, write the check back to that person; or if you were given cash or money order by one of them, return the deposit to that person. If you received a check from a joint account or in some other way received the money from them both, write the check payable to both of them, but if possible get them to come in together to pick it up, or else for  one to authorize the other to pick it up; if you can't get that to happen, write it to both of them and provide them both notice that you will send the check to one of them unless instructed otherwise.


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