What to do if the landlady took a large “damage deposit” from us but didn’t do a checklist of damages even though we asked for one?

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What to do if the landlady took a large “damage deposit” from us but didn’t do a checklist of damages even though we asked for one?

The lease states she collected a “damage deposit.” Later in the lease it says, “CONDITION OF PREMISES. Lessee stipulates, represents and warrants that lessee has examined the premises, and that they are at the time of this lease in good order, repair, and in a safe, clean and tenantable condition.” But at the time we did tell her of things wrong, which she now denies. We asked about a damage checklist and she said there was no need. Can she keep our deposit or by law can she not keep any since the law states there must be a checklist?

Asked on June 18, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If your state requires a checklist to be completed, dated and signed by the landlord, then legally she should not be able to retain your deposit after you move out. It is the landlord's obligation to comply with the requirements under state law concerning security deposits.

Under state law, the former tenant is to get his or her security deposit returned within 21 to 45 days of move out.


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