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Security Deposit Resource Center

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When do I have to return the security deposit?

Landlords have 30 days by law in which to return the security deposit. That could be extended up to 60 days if it is written in the lease.

The landlord has not returned my security deposit, what do I do?

If you have fulfilled all requirements of the lease,  you are entitled to your entire security deposit. If your landlord exceeds the time frame within which they must return the deposit, they lose the right to withhold any money at this time. They can still sue for damages. You can write a seven-day demand letter stating that if you do not receive your security deposit within seven days, you will sue them for three times the amount of money involved (treble damages). In order to receive treble damages, you must prove both willful and wrongful intent on the part of the landlord.

I am returning a security deposit to tenants and I deducted some of the money for damages. Do I need to include copies of the receipts when I return the remaining portion of the deposit?

The landlord has the burden of proving that the deductions were proper, if challenged by the tenant. The receipts and estimates should be retained, but they do not have to be sent to the tenant with the statement.

As a landlord, what type of expenses/damages can I use the security deposit for?

The security deposit can be used for any of the following:

  • any unpaid rent or utility bills owed by the tenant
  • payment for damages to the premises beyond "normal wear and tear"
  • any cleaning the tenant agreed to in the lease
  • any other breach of the lease causing financial damage to the landlord.

"Normal wear and tear" is defined by Colorado statute to mean "that deterioration which occurs based upon the use for which the rental unit is intended, with out negligence, carelessness, accident, or abuse of the premises or equipment or chattel by the tenant or members of his household or their invitee or guests." More information on normal wear and tear.

I gave my landlord a 700 dollar security deposit. I need to move out, one month earlier than I expected. My rent is 600 dollars. Can't I just move out and have my security deposit apply to my rent?

The security deposit exists to cover any damages, unpaid rent, utility bills and other financial burden caused by the tenant during the course of their tenancy. Based on the assessed damages and other related costs, the landlord will apply the security deposit accordingly. If the amount of your last month's rent and the damages exceed the amount of the security deposit, you are still responsible for covering the assessed amount. But if the unit re-rents quickly, the tenant may even have money coming back, as the landlord cannot receive rent from two sources for the same time period. For this reason, it is to the tenant's benefit to notify the landlord ASAP of early move out and to cooperate and work to re-rent the unit ASAP also.

My landlord returned my security deposit to me. I disagree with the amount returned to me, but I need to cash this check. Can I cash the check and still dispute the amount given to me?

Yes. Make a copy of the check and proceed.

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