Before you moved into your apartment, the landlord likely required a security deposit. At the end of the lease, you hope to get these much-needed funds back. But that’s not always the case, and you may have to contact a lawyer to file a claim. If you’re planning to move out of a rental property, here’s what you need to know about security deposits.
What Is a Security Deposit?
This is a certain amount of money a landlord requires from a potential tenant. A security deposit typically serves two purposes. First, it holds a rental property for a tenant interested in moving in. Submitting the funds to the landlord essentially means the apartment or leased dwelling can be taken off the market. Second, the security deposit can be used to pay for any damages to the rental property caused by the tenant.
What Can the Landlord Deduct?
The rental agreement must clearly state what the landlord can deduct from the tenant’s security deposit. Normal wear and tear such as dirty carpets and small nicks in the walls are typically not covered. However, the funds can be used for excessive damages stemming from clogged toilets and broken doors. The costs to repair water damage on floors, carpets, and window sills may also be deducted. Lawyers say while lease agreements vary, it’s important for them to contain specific damages and when a security deposit can be used to pay for them.
What Happens if the Security Deposit Isn’t Returned?
State laws vary regarding a landlord’s failure to return a tenant’s security deposit. In Ohio, landlords must return it within 30 days of the tenants vacating the property. There may be deductions to cover any property damage. Tenants are also required to provide the landlord with a forwarding address in writing. Lawyers say if the security deposit is not returned or held for more than the legal time frame, an individual may be entitled to double damages and any attorney fees.
The law office of Morrow, Gordon & Byrd, Ltd. has a team of professional attorneys who specialize in landlord and tenant legal disputes. Based in Newark, OH, the firm also serves New Albany and Westerville by providing personalized attention, accessibility, and strong client advocacy. Should you ever need their expertise, call (740) 345-9611 to schedule a consultation. You can also go online to view each lawyer’s areas of practice.