Befopre we moved into the condo that we are renting now, we fixed it up by painting walls, trim, doors, inside cabiinets and the landlord gave permission to make these improvements. We also fixed a hole in the wall and replaced door locks, strikers and door protectors. It took three months to get the place liveable. The place was not clean prior to move in. We are being taken advantage of and have to move because of a unreliable landlord. On top of that the hot water heater went out and we had no hot water for three days recently, it is now replaced. The landlord cannot fix a floor damaged by an ice maker leak that she fixed but the floor is buckled because she said she does not have the money. When we told her we were moving she said she would fix the floor if we stay.
Criminal Defense Attorney
You don't mention whether you have a lease or are in a month to month tenancy or how much notice you gave prior to moving. However, your landlord is never required to return your security deposit prior to 15 days after you move out.
Landlord / Tenant Lawyer
Neither the landlord nor the tenant can touch the security deposit until after the tenant returns all keys and surrenders possession to the landlord.
After move-out, the landlord has fifteen days to send the deposit to the tenant or thirty days to send a letter stating why the landlord is keeping all or part of the money and a breakdown of the amounts. In order to trigger this responsibility, the tenant must previously have given the landlord notice in writing as to what day they are moving and their forwarding address.
When you pick a date for moving, mail the landlord a letter via certified mail stating what day you are turning over the keys and give him your forwarding address. Then, move all of your stuff out, clean, take pictures, and then finally meet him to turn over the keys.
Three days for a hot water heater to be fixed is not unreasonable. The condo is still habitable even with a buckled floor. These are not going to be good defenses to non-payment of rent.
Next time you rent, make sure that the landlord does all the repairs and cleaning prior to move-in. Take lots of pictures when you move in and then when you move out (after cleaning).
The other attorneys are both correct. You need to provide notice to your landlord, and she has 15/30 days depending on whether she is making a claim on your deposit. If after the 30 days, she has not returned your deposit, then you can file a claim in small claims court.
This does not constitute legal advice, and there is no attorney/client relationship established.