One of the biggest things that landlords and tenants in Denver dispute over is when a landlord can rightfully withhold a tenant’s security deposit. It is important for tenants to know that there are limited circumstances in which a landlord has the right to withhold your security deposit in Colorado. As a general rule, a landlord can withhold all or a portion of a tenant’s security deposit when the tenant has caused the landlord some sort of financial harm or damage. A few common examples of when security deposit withholding is appropriate include:
- When the tenant has caused damage to the rental property that is beyond normal wear and tear;
- When the tenant owes the landlord overdue rent payments;
- When the tenant owes money on utility payments;
- When the tenant does not move out on time, and thus incurs additional rents;
- When the tenant leaves the rental property with items still in the property; and
- When the tenant leaves the rental property in a poor condition.
The landlord does not have a right to withhold the entirety of your security deposit if the amount that you owe is less than the total of your security deposit. For instance, if your security deposit was $500, and you owe $200 for overdue utilities, your landlord is able to withhold $200 from your security deposit to pay for the utilities. However, your landlord must return the remaining $300 of your security deposit back to you. When your landlord does withhold your security deposit, your landlord is required to provide you with an explanation as to why your security deposit is not being returned.
As such, if you, as a tenant, have paid your rent in full, have paid your utilities in full, and have left the rental property in reasonably good and clean condition, aside from any normal wear and tear, then you should receive your entire security deposit back from your landlord.
If You Disagree With Your Landlord’s Decision to Withhold Your Deposit
If your landlord is withholding all or a portion of your security deposit, and your landlord has provided you with the written reason for withholding, you can disagree with your landlord’s decision. If you believe that your landlord is unfairly or improperly withholding your security deposit, you can take steps to try and get it back.
To begin, you may wish to try to negotiate with your landlord on your own. Contact your landlord and discuss why he or she believes that your security deposit should be withheld. You can present evidence as to why you believe the landlord’s decision is incorrect. Hopefully, you will be able to negotiate a deal with your landlord that will get you your deposit back.
When negotiations do not work, you can demand that your landlord return your deposit with a demand letter. A landlord and tenant lawyer can help you better understand what is required to effectively send a demand letter to your landlord. If you are not successful after sending your demand letter, your next step is to seek relief from small claims court, or the county court. Again, an experienced landlord and tenant lawyer can help you decide which court is most appropriate for your particular situation, and can help you file your claim.
Contact An Experienced Denver Landlord and Tenant Lawyer
If you are having a dispute with your landlord over the withholding of your security deposit, you should speak with one of the Denver landlord and tenants attorneys at Robinson & Henry, P.C. Please reach out to our office by calling 303-688-0944 today.