The landlord must return the security deposit to the tenant within thirty (30) days after the tenant moves out, if the tenant has not caused damage to the premises. The landlord must return the full security deposit, plus interest. If the tenant has damaged the premises, the landlord must return only the amount of the security deposit that is left, if any, after the landlord uses it to fix the damage and must provide an itemized list of what was charged for the damages.
The tenant must give the landlord written notice of his or her new address so that the landlord knows where to send the money. A landlord who does not respond within thirty days may be liable for double (2 times) the amount of the security deposit.
The tenant may also wish to do the following to make sure the security deposit is returned:
- read the lease and follow all of its provisions, especially those that deal with notice to the land- lord of the move.
- inspect the apartment with the landlord using a checklist. Compare it to the checklist completed before the tenant moved into the apartment.
- take photographs of the apartment and have a person other than the landlord or tenant inspect the apartment.
- clean the apartment.
- repair all damage to the apartment caused by the tenant, the tenant’s family members or the tenant’s guests.
- keep a file with copies of all letters to and from the landlord—the lease agreement, rent checks and/or receipts, written notices to or from the landlord, inspection checklists, and any other important items.
- make all rental payments on time.