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How does security deposit work, and how much will I get back?

Brockton, MA |

I moved out of a Brockton, MA apartment, into another. My things remained there for 17 days into the month (this month) and I returned the keys today. The security deposit was $1086. I am unsure as to how much I will get back (the place was cleaned very well, though whatever was wrong was either like that when i got there such as wax on the carpet, or caused by a mouse problem due to the landlady refusing to pay exterminators to get rid of them) and I want to know how much I get back.

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Attorney answers 3


usually it is at least a 30 day cycle which means that you owe money or rent for the entire cycle, assuming it is 30 days, it so ends.

You are entitled to a walk through and a list of any items which the landlord may think of deducting. You are entitled to know which account, interest bearing, the money was placed, and the amount of interest.

The rest is purely math.

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How much was the monthly rent? In MA, a landlord can only charge up to one month's rent for security. If he or she did not handle the security deposit correctly, you may be able to a full refund (landlord is estopped from damages in certain cases). Regardless, you should send a 30 day demand for the return of whatever amount you are entitled. A good housing attorney may be able to get you up to 3 times what you paid plus attorney fees.



The rent was 1086. That is also the amount of my deposit. The only damages are those such as holes in the wall from mice chewing through. The health inspector previously told me that the landlady only paid the exterminator bare minimum, so they could only put down glue traps and that's it (which clearly did not work.) Other than that, everything is clean and fine.


The two other lawyers are correct about the issues they pointed out. The Security Deposit law in Mass is very technical and specific about the handling of the funds and it trips up a lot of landlords. There are also potentially harsh penalties (i.e. triple the amount of the deposit) if there is a violation. You should consult with a landlord/tenant attorney if you believe there is a violation.