Can a landlord hold a security depositdue to pre-existing conditions?

UPDATED: Aug 1, 2011

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Can a landlord hold a security depositdue to pre-existing conditions?

Landlord has been avoiding calls and emails and now finally stated that he will be keeping the security deposit because of a leaky roof. However this roof leaked before tenants moved in and both parties were well aware of the inadequacies. In the winter however a couple kids snowboarded down the roof one night and no damages were done and the landlord was made aware of this.

Asked on August 1, 2011 Colorado


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Who is responsible for the leaky roof depends on a a few things.  Generally speaking, a roof would be a major repair and the responsibility of the landlord. If the leaking was caused by the tenant - whose kids snowboarded down the roof? - then the burden could shift toe the tenant.  Here is the law with regard to security deposits.  Take a look and act accordingly.  Good luck.

"In Colorado the landlord is required to send a written statement of damages, along with any security deposit refund, to the renter's last known address. When you leave an apartment, the landlord has one month (unless a longer period of time, not to exceed 60 days, is stipulated in the lease) to send to your last known address the full amount of the security deposit or a written list of the damages and the amount of money needed for repairs. If the deposit is larger than the amount required for repairs, the landlord must return the excess.  If the landlord does not comply with the law and fails to refund the deposit within one month (or up to 60 days if stipulated in the lease), or withholds any portion for normal wear and tear, or if you consider the reasons for withholding invalid and wish to pursue the matter, you can take legal steps. You may seek the assistance of an attorney, file a complaint in county court under Simplified Civil Action, or file a complaint in the small claims division of county court. o start the action, send the landlord a certified letter (with a return receipt requested) and demand the deposit be refunded within seven days under threat of legal action. Also send a copy by regular first class mail. The letter should cite violation 38-12-103 of Colorado Revised Statutes and mention that the statutory time requirement for returning the deposit has elapsed following the termination of the lease agreement. If the landlord does not respond within seven days after the letter is sent, you can pursue court action."

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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