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Security Deposits

When a tenant moves out at the end of a lease term, there are certain rules for both the tenant and the landlord to follow.

The tenant should return the key to the landlord and must leave the premises in as good a condition as they were when the tenant moved in. The tenant must make any repairs needed to restore the premises to that condition, but is not responsible for ordinary wear and tear.

After the tenant moves out, any remaining security deposit held by the landlord can be applied to unpaid rent, utilities, late fees, or to any damages the tenant’s actions may have caused. The landlord must return the rest to the tenant.

Assuming the tenant gives the landlord a new or forwarding address, the landlord must, within 30 days, return the security deposit to the tenant, less any deductions. All deductions from the security deposit must be explained and listed for the tenant. If the landlord does not return the money owed by that time, a tenant can file a claim with the court. The court can order the landlord to pay the tenant twice the money owed plus lawyer’s fees.