How do I dispute with my landlord on returning of rental deposit at the end of the rental agreement? 2 Answers as of May 20, 2013

2 months rental deposit. I believe there will be certain items that the landlord could dispute like dirty carpet etc., but beyond that, the house is in the same condition as before.

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Law Offices of John S. Keating
Law Offices of John S. Keating | John S. Keating
Under Massachusetts law, a landlord may not require the payment of a security deposit in an amount that exceeds the first month's rent. He or she must also present you with a signed "Statement of Condition" at the beginning of the tenancy, indicating any items of damage that existed at the time you took possession. (If you do not agree with what the landlord listed in this statement for example, if you noticed more things that were in disrepair than were listed in the Statement of Condition then you have a right to dispute the Statement of Condition.) The landlord also must place the security deposit in a separate, interest-bearing bank account that does not include any other of the landlord's funds (so that the bank account and your security deposit cannot be seized by the landlord's creditors if he/she gets sued). The landlord must give you a receipt showing which bank and which bank account your security deposit was placed in, and the amount deposited. And he/she must pay you interest on this amount. At the end of the tenancy, the landlord must give you a statement, which indicates that it is signed under penalty of perjury, itemizing the damage he/she is claiming the right to deduct from your security deposit, and must also include receipts for any repairs that he/she claims to have made from your security deposit funds. He/she must also refund the appropriate amount that remains from your security deposit within 30 days of the end of your tenancy. And he/she cannot deduct for "reasonable wear and tear". If your landlord failed to do ANY of these things even just one of them then you may be entitled to a refund of your FULL security deposit, PLUS three times your security deposit, PLUS your court costs and attorney's fees. Massachusetts law is very strict in this area. I just handled a case like this one last month, and the court mediator whom we met with before appearing in front of the judge told the parties and their counsel (including me) that if we went in front of the judge that afternoon without having agreed to a settlement, the judge was virtually certain to make an award to the tenant (my client) as described above (refund of full security deposit, treble damages, plus court costs and attorney's fees). The parties then settled for slightly less than that amount, because my client (the tenant) felt sorry for the landlord, with whom he had been friendly before the security deposit dispute broke out. But you could be in a very strong position if your landlord did not strictly comply with Massachusetts law on the subject of security deposits.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 5/20/2013
Peters Law, PLLC
Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
Well, you have to wait and see, don't you. When you get the accounting, you object to what you think you should object to. If the landlord does not give you what you think you deserve, you file a small claims action. I suggest taking pictures of everything after you have moved the furniture out so that you have proof of condition.
Answer Applies to: Idaho
Replied: 5/20/2013
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