When you start a new lease, most landlords will require you to pay a security deposit – make sure you get a receipt! Think of a security deposit like a loan you give to your landlord to ensure that you pay your rent and keep the place in good condition. If you don’t pay your rent or fees, or if you cause damage to your rental beyond normal wear-and-tear, your landlord may be able to keep some or all of your security deposit. Ordinarily, though, your landlord must return your entire security deposit after you move out.

The rules about security deposits are found in ORS 90.300. When your lease ends and you move out, your landlord has 31 days to mail to you (or hand to you) 100% of your security deposit. If your landlord wants to keep any part of your deposit (for the reasons discussed above), your landlord must give you a written accounting within that same 31 day period of time.

Landlords break the rules on security deposits all the time, and when they do, tenants may be able to sue them for twice the amount of money in dispute. For example, landlords often fail to send back deposit money within the 31-day time period. Or, landlords try to bully tenants out of their security deposit money by making up bogus damage claims.

Don’t let your landlord screw you out of your security deposit! Call Portland Defender – we can help you get your security deposit back.

(photo by TaxBrackets.org)