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Can your landlord keep your security deposit in Maryland?

Security deposits can be a significant portion of money. When leaving to go to a new home, those funds can come in handy.

However, there are times when a landlord may refuse to return part or all of a security deposit. Tenants may wonder if this is legal, and the answer is, it depends.

There are valid reasons

Landlords in Maryland can withhold a tenant’s security deposit for certain reasons, such as unpaid rent, damage to the rental property or failure to return keys. If they want to withhold all or part of a security deposit, they must provide the tenant with a written notice relating to the amount of the deposit withheld. They must send this notice to the tenant’s last known address within 45 days of the end of the tenancy along with an itemized list detailing the nature of any damage and the estimated cost of repairs.

There are invalid reasons

The landlord cannot keep the security deposit for no reason. He or she also cannot keep it for normal wear and tear. Tenants have a right to be present when the landlord inspects their property for damage. If a landlord has no legal right to withhold any part of a security deposit, he or she must return the full amount to the tenant within 45 days of the tenancy’s end and provide a receipt.

In Maryland, landlords can legally keep tenants’ security deposits under certain conditions. However, landlords must follow strict rules and regulations. Tenants who believe their landlord wrongfully withheld their security deposit have the right to take legal action to seek its return.