What are my rights if my lease agreement states that the landlord is to refund my security deposit within 30 days of vacating the premises but he failed to do so?

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What are my rights if my lease agreement states that the landlord is to refund my security deposit within 30 days of vacating the premises but he failed to do so?

A written account of deductions must also be presented within 30 days of move-out. Neither were provided to us by the landlord. I contacted the landlord on days 33, 40 and 41 post move-out. Finally day 44 I received a partial refund and a generalized list of items with no costs associated with the items he listed. According to the state law an itemized list of damages claimed and the cost of repair for each damaged item must be provided if the full amount of the security deposit is not returned in 45 days. Am I entitled to full refund and can he counter sue for items not provided and for which he already witheld fund?

Asked on June 17, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The landlord can keep an amount of your security deposit equal to the cost of actual damage (not normal wear and tear) caused by you (or your family or guests, etc.) during your tenancy, as well as to cover unpaid rent. He cannot keep anything beyond that. Even if the landlord did not comply with state law regarding timing and documentation, if you sue him for the return of your deposit, a court will generally allow him to keep that portion to which he can prove he is entitled--and will force him to return any additional part to you. So you would not be entitled to a full refund unless the landlord is not entitled to any of the money he held back. And if you sue him, he is allowed to interpose a counterclaim, such as for any other or additional amounts he claims you owe, but, of course, he would have to prove those amounts in court to get them.


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