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When I moved into the apartment, two windows did not have screens and two other screens were ripped. After I vacated the apartment, I received a letter from the management company saying they were going to deduct the cost of the screens from my security deposit. Can they deduct this cost from the security deposit?

Generally, the tenant is not responsible fodefects that existed when the tenant moved

into the unit. The purpose of a move-in inspection is to identify any defects existing at the time

the tenant moves in. If you signed the move-in ispection list and failed to identify the missing

and torn screens, you can be charged for the reacement and repair of those screens. The list

from the move-in inspection establishes the condition of the apartment at the time you moved in.

If you noted the condition of the screens on the list at the time of the move-in inspection, the cost

of the repair should not be deducted from your security deposit.

After my tenant moved out, I discovered that he had damaged the unit. The cost of making the repairs is much greater than the amount of the security deposit. What can I do?

The answer depends on if the landlord ownmore than ten (10) rental units, including

units owned by his spouse and/or children, orif the landlord employed a management company

to rent the unit. If either ofthese is true, the landlord must comply with the requirements of the

Security Deposit Act before he can keep the tent’s security deposit or sue the tenant for the

cost of damages above the amount of the security deposit. Such landlords are required to inspect

the property at move-in and move-out and toovide the tenant with a list of any damages

discovered.

The

landlord

must

also

have

place the

security

deposit

in

an

escrow

account

or

posted

the

required

bond

with

theourt.

Further,

the

landlor must

provide

the

tenant

with

notice of his intent to keep the security deposit within thirty (30) days of the tenant’s vacating the

unit. Only when the landlord has met the requirements of the Security Deposit Act may he keep

the security deposit and sue the tenant for any damages above the amount of the security deposit.

A landlord who owns fewer than ten (10) unitsand did not employ a management company to

rent the unit would only need to notify the tenaof his intent to keepthe security deposit to

cover the damages and that the tenant owes an additional amount for damages.

41

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