The most common quarrel between tenants and landlords is over the security deposit. For that purpose, states have laws with rules for suggesting the percentage of rent and security deposits to be kept with a landlord. As with any legal issue, if the tenant believes that the landlord is improperly keeping or mistreating the security deposit, it is essential to check the laws of the specific jurisdiction before taking action.
The first step in arranging the security deposit back is making sure the tenant satisfies the conditions of your lease. Any property that came with the apartment from the landlord must remain. The items which are not returned can be charged by the tenants. It is necessary that he leaves the apartment in good condition. The landlord can charge for damage above and beyond normal wear and tear. The simplest way to get the security deposit back is to encourage a good relationship with your landlord while living in residence. If a tenant gets along well with the landlord, misunderstandings don't have to escalate into major disagreements.
The lease agreement executed between landlord and tenant should specify a period for occupancy. When landlord and tenant sign the lease, they agreed to occupy the space and pay rent for that amount of time. The landlord might be able to keep charging the tenant the rent until a new tenant comes to stay, he can deduct from your security deposit or keep the full amount.
It is advisable to give written notice when a tenant decides to move. The usual timeframe for notification is 30 days. If the tenant doesn't provide the required notice, then he can certainly be charged for the term of the notice. The courts don't always uphold a landlord's right to deduct from a security deposit for short notice. However, if your landlord does charge you, you'll have to go through the hassle of small claims court. Avoid disaster and financial burden by careful planning.
If any problem arises, as the landlord refuses to give your security deposit back, within the time period set by the law, or if you have any dispute charges that the landlord has deducted from the deposit, the first essential step for settling the issue is to contact the landlord (or his/her agent). One should mention the difficulty and request a refund. It is advisable to follow the conversation with a letter sent by certified mail and ensure to keep a copy. He/she can even give a hand-delivered letter having the sign of landlord and date of the print received by the landlord.
If everything fails, you may have to file a lawsuit and get the security deposit back. A lawsuit over a security deposit will go before a small-claims court, which means that it is not necessary to hire an attorney. If security deposit amount exceeds the claim amount for small-claims courts in the jurisdiction and an individual end up hiring an attorney to represent him in civil court, he can recover the attorney's fees after he wins the suit.
Filing a lawsuit can help to recover the higher amount than the original security deposit if the court finds that the landlord has acted in bad faith. In some cases, the award could be more the amount of the security deposit. The disadvantage of filing a suit is that the landlord can file counterclaims for damage to the property, violations of the lease deed, or other claims that may cause you difficulties in defending the landlord.