What can a tenant do if the landlord keeps all or a portion of the deposit and the tenant disagrees with the charges?

If a landlord fails to return a security deposit or keeps a portion of the security deposit and the tenant disagrees with the charges, the tenant can write the landlord a letter of demand. The demand letter should be sent certified mail, return receipt requested. The tenant should retain a copy for their records. If the landlord does not respond to the letter of demand within a reasonable amount of time, ex. 10 business days, the tenant can file an action in small claims court. If the tenant can prove that the landlord’s retention of the security deposit was willful the tenant could be awarded up to twice the amount of the security deposit.

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