Renting a Home

Security Deposits

What should the tenant do if the landlord does not refund the deposit or refunds what the tenant believes is too little?

The tenant should first try to negotiate with the landlord, perhaps with the help of a mediator. If that fails, the tenant should take the landlord to small claims court. Many states have a special small claims court where persons can sue to collect money owed to them without the need to hire an attorney. These courts are sometimes called pro se courts (Latin for "for oneself") because the tenant, who will be the plaintiff in the lawsuit, is often required to appear without a lawyer. (In most places, the landlord may still hire an attorney.) This type of court is not as intimidating as regular court because the judge does not expect legal sophistication from the tenant.

>>What is a security deposit?
>> What does the lease say about security deposits?
>>Are deposits for cleaning, pets, parking, or garage door openers considered security deposits and, thus, refundable?
>>Must landlords hold security deposits in a separate bank account apart from other assets?
>>Does the landlord have to pay interest on deposits?
>>Under what conditions does the landlord owe a refund of the security deposit?
>>What should the tenant do if the landlord does not refund the deposit or refunds what the tenant believes is too little?


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*Security Deposits* | Fair Housing | Where to Get More Help

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