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Steps to take when your landlord withholds your security deposit

On Behalf of | Jun 30, 2023 | Landlord Disputes |

According to the IRS, over 10.5 million landlords are in the United States. Many of those landlords are in Ohio and typically require a security deposit when someone moves into their rental property.

Security deposits serve as a safety net for landlords, protecting them from potential damage caused by tenants. Landlords should return this deposit upon the end of a lease unless they use it to cover unpaid rent or damage beyond normal wear and tear. However, you may encounter a situation where your landlord refuses to return your security deposit, and it is important to know your options if this happens.

Understand your rights

Ohio law requires landlords to return your security deposit within 30 days of you leaving the property. They can deduct from the deposit to cover unpaid rent or any damage you caused to the property beyond ordinary wear and tear. If your landlord makes any deductions, they must provide you with an itemized list of the charges.

If you do not receive your deposit or an itemized list of deductions within 30 days, you can take action to recover your deposit.

Communicate with your landlord

Start by communicating with your landlord. Write a formal letter requesting the return of your security deposit. Make sure to include the date you moved out and your new address. You may need to escalate the matter if your landlord still does not return your deposit.

File a claim in small claims court

If communication fails, consider filing a claim in small claims court. In Ohio, you can sue for up to three times your deposit amount if your landlord intentionally withholds it.

To file a claim, you will need to go to your county’s small claims court, complete the necessary paperwork and pay a filing fee. The court will then schedule a hearing where you and your landlord can present your cases.

Dealing with a landlord who refuses to return your security deposit can be frustrating and challenging. However, understanding your rights and taking proactive steps can help you recover what is rightfully yours.

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