Tenant's Guide to Security Deposit Problems

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The statute dealing with security deposits is KRS § 383.580

STEP ONE: DO YOU HAVE AN ISSUE ?

A) DID THIS HAPPEN WHEN YOU MOVED IN?

Your landlord was required to:

1. Place your security deposit in an account used ONLY for that purpose.

2. Inform you of

a. The location of the account

b. The account number

3. Give you a list of ALL then-existing damages

You had the right to: (These are only an issue if you were denied these rights)

1. Inspect the premises

2. State in writing any objections you have to the list of then-existing damages (If you signed the list without stating any objections then the list will be considered by the Judge to be accurate for the state of condition at the time you moved in of the items on the list. However, any items NOT on the list can still be disputed.)

*If your landlord fails to do anything he is required to do, OR does NOT allow you to do something that you have the right to do then he may NOT retain any portion of your security deposit.

B) DID THIS HAPPEN WHEN YOU MOVED OUT?

Your landlord is required to:

1. Inspect the premises for any damages

2. Compile a list of ALL damages that are to be charged against your security deposit

You have the right to: (These are only an issue if you were denied these rights)

1. Inspect the premises for the items listed by the landlord (It is a good idea to take notes and pictures of anything you object to during this inspection)

2. Refuse to sign the list and state in writing any items on the list you object to

*** VERY IMPORTANT*** In order to dispute the damages you MUST state your objections in writing

*If your landlord fails to do anything he is required to do, OR does NOT allow you to do something that you have the right to do then he may NOT retain any portion of your security deposit.

C) DID YOU ABANDON YOUR SECURITY DEPOSIT?

Did you leave without paying the last-months rent and NOT demand a return of your deposit within 30 days?

*If you did this then the landlord has the right to remove the deposit from the account and pay the last month’s rent

*Even if you do demand the security deposit- it is highly likely that the Judge will later deduct your last months rent from the security deposit

Did you not respond to your landlords notification of the return of your security deposit within 60 days?

*If yes, then the landlord has the right to claim your security deposit

***VERY IMPORTANT*** In order to avoid any claim that you abandoned your security deposit, you should send a certified mail letter demanding that your landlord either return your full security deposit or contact you to schedule a move-out inspection AND you should provide contact information. You should mail this letter a few days prior to your final move-out date.

*If you did NOT abandon your security deposit OR you never received notice then your landlord may NOT retain your security deposit

STEP TWO: WHAT YOU SHOULD DO IF YOU BELIEVE YOUR SECURITY DEPOSIT WAS UNLAWFULLY RETAINED BY YOUR LANDLORD?

If one of the following things happened:

1. Your landlord did NOT do things he was required to do

2. Your landlord did NOT allow you to do things you had the right to do

3. Your landlord refused to return a deposit that you have NOT abandoned

4. You disputed the amount of damages your landlord has charged against your security deposit in writing.

Then you can:

Bring an action in Small Claims Court

What you should do to prove your case:

1. Take photos of any damages you dispute

2. Make a list of any damages you dispute and why you dispute them

3. Bring the itemized list of damages you were given when you moved in

4. Bring the itemized list of charges you were given when you moved out

5. Bring any documents about your security deposit, including your lease.

*If you have unpaid rent, an action for return of your security deposit is likely to be unsuccessful and would probably not be worth your time.



Reviewed August 2009