We are answering your most asked questions surrounding Washington landlord tenant law. Here is Part 2 of the Q&A on Washington Security Deposits and what you need to know when ending a tenancy in Washington.
1. When can a landlord keep a tenant’s security deposit?
In Washington, a landlord may keep all or a portion of the tenant’s security deposit to cover unpaid rent, and other breaches of the lease agreement. RCW 59.18.280. A landlord cannot withhold the security deposit for ordinary wear and tear. Any property damage must be beyond normal wear and tear to retain the security deposit. RCW 59.18.280.
2. What if property damage goes beyond ordinary wear and tear?
If a tenant damages the property beyond ordinary wear and tear, the landlord may sue the tenant for the cost of the damages exceeding the security deposit, plus reasonable attorney’s fees. RCW 59.18.280.
3. When must a landlord return a tenant’s deposit?
A landlord has 14 days from the date of the end of the lease or tenant’s move-out to return the tenant’s security deposit. If the landlord withholds any portion of the deposit, the landlord must include a written notice stating what has been withheld and why. This statement must be returned along with the refunded balance of the deposit. RCW 59.18.280. The deposit must be returned by first-class mail or personally delivered to the tenant within 14 days to the tenant’s last known address. RCW 59.18.280.
4. What is the penalty for withholding a security deposit?
If a landlord does not return the deposit within 14 days, or does not provide a written notice stating why all or part of the deposit was withheld, may have to pay up to two times the tenant’s security deposit plus court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees. RCW 59.18.280.
Be sure to check out Part 1, here: http://www.dimensionlaw.com/landlord-tenant-series-qa-security-deposits-part-1/
Dimension Law Group has experienced attorneys that know the nuances of landlord/tenant and real estate law and are ready to help. If you have any further questions, please contact our office for a free consultation.