What to do about a landlord’s failure to returna security deposit 18 months later?

UPDATED: Aug 5, 2011

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What to do about a landlord’s failure to returna security deposit 18 months later?

Tenant ruined carpet and moved out. Landlord replaced carpet and has receipts, Landlord did not return the security deposit or provide itemized statement describing why it was held. 18 months later, landlord finds uncashed rent check and cashes it. Tenant argues that security deposit must be returned. Is landlord required to return deposit because no itemized statement was provided? Or is it too late? Or can an itemized statement of damage be provided now?

Asked on August 5, 2011 Colorado


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Laws in most states in this country require a tenant's security deposit to be returned by him or her within a relatively short period of time after vacating the unit, 21 to 30 days the landlord.

In California, it is 21 days. The landlord is required to send the security deposit to the tenant in a required time period, and if the full amount is not sent, the landlord must state in writing to the tenant why the full amount was not sent and attached invoices and other documents showing the reason for the debit.

Your security deposit's return is way overdue from your landlord. You need to write him or her a demand letter for the full deposit with accrued interest payale by a stated date. If not returned, go to your local landlord clinic to discuss the situation and a possible small claims court action.

Good luck.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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