Rental Basics in Rockville>Question Details

trestompp, Renter in Rockville, MD

My landlord is trying to keep my entire security deposit.

Asked by trestompp, Rockville, MD Sat Dec 22, 2012

"Hello. I live in Maryland, on September 30, 2012 I moved out of my apartment. My move was long distance so I turned in my keys through the mail slot of the office door. I gave my 30 days notice in writing and I moved out on the very Sunday I told them I would. Today I get a letter dated December 18, 2012 with a list of bogus damages that just happen to add up to my entire security deposit. Do I have a case?

Help the community by answering this question:


Hello Trestompp,

I am a MD property manager - Legally, a landlord can only make deductions from your security deposit for actual damages incurred, not including normal wear and tear, such as unpaid rent and damages beyond normal wear and tear. If your landlord was a company, they should have done a walk-through of the property with you prior to you moving. If you had a private landlord, this may have been overlooked. However, Piero is correct: your landlord must provide proof of the repairs that were made in order to deduct it from your security deposit. Also, the landlord had to return your deposit within 45 days of you moving out - therefore if your letter was dated December 18 and you moved September 30, that means the landlord waited 79 days and was severely overdue. According to MD state law, if the landlord does not return a security deposit or give a statement along with proof of repairs accounting for where the security deposit was allocated to within 45 days of vacating the property, the tenant is able to file for 3x the original deposit.

I am not a lawyer, however I have years of experience as a property manager and am very familiar with the law regarding security deposits and other landlord issues. Based on what you have told me and assuming the damages incurred to the property were not beyond normal wear and tear (scuffs on the walls, worn carpet/flooring, a nick here and there), I would say you have a case against your landlord. I would strongly suggest contacting an experienced real estate lawyer with prior experience in tenant-landlord issues. A lawyer will be able to tell you in more detail what proof you will need in order to make a strong case.

Happy holidays and best of luck!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 24, 2012
I was a good tenant and left my apartment in great condition, this is why I was surprised by the lack of contact. Thank you I will be contacting a lawyer today.
Flag Thu Dec 27, 2012
Thank you for all of your help. I will be contacting a real estate lawyer today. I have pulled out my proof of deposit, my old lease, my letters, and the memo they sent me acknowledging my notice even though he did not deny receiving it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 27, 2012
Best of luck!
Flag Thu Dec 27, 2012
Lauren provided a very comprehensive answer below. Way to go Lauren. I always recommend that our tenants do a detailed walk-through sheet upon move-in to note any damage to the property. And have the Landlord or their agent attend the final walk-through so you can see exactly what concerns they may have. It is always a good idea to take photos as well to show the condition you left the home in. And do insist on receipts for work the landlord actually had to do that were above and beyond normal wear and tear.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 26, 2012
First thing is when you moved in .did you do a walk through. Second when you moved out was the home the same way you moved In. Has he giving you photos of damage that you may of done. Thirdly in the state of maryland a landlord is required to place you deposit in a separate escrow account was that done.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 22, 2012
Yes I did a walk through when I moved in and I left my apartment in the same condition when I moved out.
Flag Thu Dec 27, 2012
The landlord can't just send you a list - they must provide receipts that show what work was done. Also, the landlord cannot charge you for work they did themselves, only for materials.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 22, 2012
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