Renters Deposits

19 Nov 2009

So recently I went through an exciting adventure with my old landlord trying to get our deposit back. I figured I would share some interesting facts that most people don’t know.

So to start off with, this is for the State of Montana. I can’t say if this is true for other states.

Rental facts:

  • Deposit can be a max of 1 months rent
  • Deposits can only cover costs of damages in the apartment, not like other weird fees
  • Deposits have to be returned within 30 days of the termination of the lease or when you leave the apartment with notice.
  • You have to give your landlord your new address otherwise you may be forfeiting the above rule
  • If there was no cleaning or charges the landlord has 10 days to return your deposit.
  • After 90 days the landlord is required to pay interest on the deposit. This is 90 days past the termination of the lease/leaving the apartment.

Here is the link to the actual laws if you wanna check them out and I recommend you do.

So here is  a little list to help ensure you get your entire deposit back

  • Don’t break stuff in your apartment obviously
  • Make absolutely sure you and your landlord walk through your apartment before you move in and create an inventory sheet with things that are broken in the apartment. When you move out, do the same thing.
  • When you move out make sure you give your landlord in witting your new address so he can send you your deposit back.
  • The landlord can charge you for Carpet Cleaning and other cleaning ONLY if he gives you prior notice before doing it. You have the right to clean the apartment any way you can. The landlord and you then need to decide if the cleaning is up to par.
  • If you are renting an apartment with more than 1 bedroom make sure that if your roommate moves out that your landlord comes over and walks through and you guys recheck the apartment with that inventory sheet of damages so you don’t get stuck with damages they cause when you move out.
  • Make sure you have a copy of all documentation(Lease, Inventory Sheet…)

If you move out and have given the landlord notice that you are moving out and your landlord doesn’t give you your deposit back within the given amount of time by the MCA here is what you can do.

  • Make 2 copies of all the documentation you have
  • Create a letter detailing that you require your deposit back according to the MCA and that he has violated whatever section he has violated(Probably MCA 70-25-202)
  • Place 1 copy in an envelope and send it certified mail to your landlord
  • Place the other copy in another envelope and hand deliver it to your landlord

So ya, hope that helps somebody out there. Really you souldn’t ever have to do anything legal unless your landlord is completely in the wrong. I’m not a lawyer or anything so make sure you read up on the law yourself or if you need to, get some actual legal advice.

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