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A landlord is presumed to have refunded a security deposit or provided you with an itemized description of the security deposit deductions if on or before the thirtieth day from your move-out, the refund or itemization is placed in the United States mail and postmarked on or before the thirtieth day. If a landlord who has the tenant's forwarding address fails either to return the security deposit or to provide a written list of deductions on or before the thirtieth day after the tenant moves out, then the landlord is presumed to have acted in bad faith. If your landlord retains all or part of your security deposit in bad faith, you may sue her and recover $100 plus three times the amount of the security deposit that was wrongfully withheld, plus attorney's fees and court costs. If your landlord, in bad faith, fails to provide a written description and itemized list of damages and charges to you for a portion of your security deposit that has been withheld, she has forfeited all rights to withhold any portion of the security deposit or to bring suit against you for damages to the premises. Tenants who wish to sue for their deposits can do so fairly easily without an attorney in a Justice of the Peace Court. In these courts, you can be awarded up to $10,000 plus court costs. Contact a lawyer or your local tenant association for tips on suing in a Justice of the Peace Court.

Exceptions and Miscellaneous The landlord is required by law to keep accurate records of all security deposits; however, the landlord is not obligated to keep the funds in a separate account. The landlord is also not required to pay interest on the security deposit. The landlord is not required to furnish a description or itemized list of deductions, as described above, if any rent is due and unpaid at the time you move out and there was no dispute that the rent was due. If the lease requires you to give advance notice of termination, you should do so. However, advance notice of termination may not be a condition for a refund of your security deposit unless the requirement of advance notice is underlined or printed in conspicuous, bold print in the lease agreement. Even if you fail to give notice, as specified in the lease, and the provision is signed and underlined, the landlord may have to show how she was damaged by your failure to give advanced written notice before she can keep the deposit. If the house or apartment is sold or otherwise transferred to a new owner, the new owner is responsible for returning the deposit unless the new owner purchased the property at a fore- closure sale. In this case, the old owner remains responsible for the security deposit unless the new owner gives a written notice to you stating that she is responsible for the deposit.

Security Deposit of a Deceased enant Unless your lease specifically provides otherwise during the term of your lease, your landlord can ask you to provide the name, address, and telephone number of a person to contact upon your death and a signed statement authorizing that person to receive your refunded security deposit. If your landlord does not request this information, you can volunteer it at any time. Upon your death, that person will be entitled to receive the balance of the security deposit from your landlord (minus any allowable deductions, including any costs of


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