Landlords request security deposits to protect against any damages or unpaid rent at the end of a tenancy.
However, some landlords in Maryland may illegally withhold a tenant’s security deposit for unjustified reasons. If you find yourself in this situation, it is important to know what steps you can take to retrieve your security deposit.
Know your rights
The first step to take when your landlord illegally keeps your security deposit is to understand your rights as a tenant. According to Maryland law, landlords must return a tenant’s security deposit within 45 days after the tenant moves out. Landlords may only withhold a portion of the security deposit for specific reasons, such as unpaid rent or damages beyond normal wear and tear. If the landlord withholds the deposit without a valid reason, they may be liable to pay the tenant up to three times the amount of the original security deposit.
If your landlord illegally withholds your security deposit, you have several options for taking action. The first step is to send a demand letter to your landlord requesting the return of your security deposit. This letter should include a copy of your lease agreement, a detailed account of the damages and repairs made to the unit and any other relevant information. If the landlord does not respond to the demand letter or refuses to return the deposit, you can file a complaint with the Maryland Attorney General’s office or take your landlord to small claims court.
The illegal withholding of a security deposit can cause significant financial hardship for tenants. By taking action and understanding your rights, you can ensure that you receive your rightful security deposit back.