Landlords/agents must give their tenants with a Statement of Condition upon receipt of a security deposit or within 10 days after the tenancy begins, whichever is later. If the tenant does not agree with the contents of the statement, they must return a corrected copy to the landlord within 15 days after receiving the list or 15 days after move in, whichever is later.
If the tenant fails to return the list and later sues to recover the security deposit, a court may view this failure to do so as an agreement that the list was complete and correct. If a tenant submits a separate list of damages, the landlord must review and return it within 15 days of receipt with a clear written response of agreement or disagreement.
The signed statement and the original condition statement are the basis upon which future deductions for damage will be made. If the landlord does not send the tenant a Statement of Condition, the tenant should write their own and send a copy to the landlord or agent and keep a copy for their records.
Damage deduction for security deposits
Upon termination of the tenancy, the landlord must return the security deposit or balance thereof within 30 days of the tenant vacating the apartment. Deductions can only be made for the following items:
- Unpaid rent not lawfully withheld
- Unpaid increases in real estate taxes the tenant is bound to pay pursuant to a valid tax escalator clause in the lease
- Any reasonable amount necessary to repair damage caused by the tenant, their pets, or guests
Normal wear and tear in an apartment is not a deductible item of damage.
If a deduction for damages is made, the landlord must provide the tenant with a statement, sworn to under the pains and penalties of perjury, listing the damages for which they are deducting along with documentation showing the actual or estimated costs of these repairs such as bills, receipts, or invoices.
Landlords cannot deduct for damages that were outlined in the Statement of Condition unless the landlord made repairs to them prior to the start of tenancy and they were again damaged by the tenant or tenant's guests.
If damages exceed the security deposit, the landlord is free to sue for those as well.