Can a Landlord Legally Keep Your Deposit in Washington State?
Can A Landlord In Washington State Legally Keep All Of My Rental Deposit Money?
When you rent a home or property, you’re typically required to pay a cash deposit, which is meant to cover any damages or unpaid rent at the end of your lease.
What Can I Do Legally If My Landlord Keeps All Of My Deposit Money In WA State?
However, in some cases, landlords may try to keep your deposit for unjustified reasons.
I recently noticed a friend of mine getting into a tussle on Facebook about a landlord that withheld all of their deposit and it got me thinking about what legal rights you as a renter have in Washington State.
I once had a company walk-through with me and nickel and dimed the deposit. It wasn't a fun experience but learned a valuable lesson about making sure I have the landlord walk through with me every time. A little trick is to replace the stove element pans, it will save you a huge headache.
So can landlords in Washington State keep all of your deposit? Here is what the law says about it:
Written Rental Agreement: There should be a written rental agreement in place that outlines the terms and conditions regarding the security deposit, including the amount and how it can be used.
Move-In Inspection: The landlord may conduct a move-in inspection with you, documenting the condition of the rental property before you move in. This is important as it establishes the baseline condition of the property.
Itemized Statement: If the landlord intends to keep any portion of your deposit, they are required to provide you with a written, itemized statement of the deductions within 21 days after you move out. This statement should include details about the deductions and any remaining balance.
Valid Deductions: The landlord can deduct from your security deposit for specific reasons such as unpaid rent, damage beyond normal wear and tear, and cleaning costs. However, they cannot deduct for normal wear and tear.
Dispute Resolution: If you disagree with the deductions or the amount being withheld, you can dispute it. You should communicate with your landlord in writing, and if an agreement cannot be reached, you may have to pursue legal action.
Interest: In Washington, landlords are not required to pay interest on security deposits unless otherwise stated in the rental agreement.
Deposit Limits: There are no specific statutory limits on the amount of a security deposit a landlord can charge in Washington, but it must be a reasonable amount.
As you can see, you have rights as a renter. The one thing you need to remember is they can't charge for reasonable wear and tear and that's why doing a walk-through at the beginning and end of the rental is so important - keep your own records so you don't get taken advantage of.
You can read more about the Washington State rental laws here.