When you are moving from one apartment to another, you may want your security deposit back so you may apply it to your next apartment. However, your landlord might wish to keep the security deposit and assert that you have forfeited the right to the deposit. Whether or not you get your deposit back will depend on the evidence you will be able to bring forward and whether you are working with a landlord-tenant lawyer.
Reasons Why the Landlord is Allowed to Keep the Security Deposit
If you have unpaid rent, the landlord may be able to keep the security deposit. Therefore, you would need to provide evidence that you did not have a balance due before you would be allowed to receive the deposit back on these grounds. If you feel like you do not have the documentation necessary to prove this, make sure to bring this up with your landlord-tenant lawyer.
Another reason why a landlord may be able to keep your rent is if you left the building damaged. In these cases, you will need to provide evidence that your apartment wasn't damaged, that the damage was normal wear and tear, or that the damage existed before you moved into the apartment. Taking before and after photographs can help you prove your version of the events. A landlord-tenant lawyer may also have ideas for how you may be able to prove that you didn't damage your apartment. You may have also withheld your rent because the apartment had damage that your tenant did not repair.
Some landlords may claim that they were forced to pay for damage when there was no actual damage done to the property. For example, your landlord might claim that they had to hire a contractor to repair the walls of your house when they do not have legal documentation to prove that such repairs were ever performed.
Consider Threatening Legal Action
Talk to your lawyer about whether threatening legal action would be the appropriate next step. If you threaten legal action, this could be enough to encourage your landlord to hand over the security deposit. Provide your landlord with a date in which they must return the security deposit so you may have a timeline for taking legal action. If your landlord still refuses, you can always recoup your losses by suing the landlord in small claims court.