As a landlord what do I have to do regarding the return of a security deposit?

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As a landlord what do I have to do regarding the return of a security deposit?

A married couple lived in my apartment and both are on the lease. 1 week later the husband moved out and the wife filed for divorce. She lived in the apartment for 15 months without him as divorced. Now she’s moving out and he’s demanding the deposit back. Since both their names are on the lease agreement I assume I have to give them both half? But how do I give them it back? Both their names on it so they both have to sign? or do I split it. If I put both their names on it who do I send it to? He’s threatening to sue me if I don’t give it to him.

Asked on August 18, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Utah

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Let's start with the law: you have to return the security deposit to the tenant within 30 days or within 15 days of receiving tenant's forwarding address, whichever is later.  You are certainly caught in a predicament.  They are placing you in the position of being the judge in their divorce case.  Is the security deposit marital property?  How is it to be divided if it is?  Utah is an equitable distribution state.  I would take the first move here and seek to deposit the security in to the court.  Landlord Tenant is probably the easiest place for you to do so.  Then let them duke it out.  Good luck.


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