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If you stay in an apartment for a certain amount of time, will you just not get the deposit back?

Seattle, WA |

I tend to rent place for three years at a time, minimum, and have never gotten a deposit back. I've never had any complaints about the condition of my place, but I just never get any deposit back. Is this because I stay too long?


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Attorney answers 3


Read your lease/rental agreement over carefully. There should not be any loss because of the amount of time you stayed in an apartment. If the deposit was a cleaning deposit, you may not be entitled to a return. Your landlord must account to you within 14 days of you vacating the apartment/house. Check with the Seattle Tenant's union

The advice given is general for information purposes only and should not be relied on. You should consult with an attorney of your choice to fully advise you about your legal rights and obligations.


I agree with the previous poster, the length of time that you rent a place should have no effect upon whether you receive your deposit back. RCW 59.18.260 - .280 details why a deposit could be kept by the landlord. It also details when they landlord must return it to you or provide a statement why it is not being returned to you.

This answer is for informational purposes only and should not be construed to establish an attorney client relationship. Before taking any legal action, it is always advisable to discuss your specific situation with an attorney.


Deposits come in two varieties: the security deposit and the damage deposit. A security deposit is supposed to secure all your obligations, a damage deposit is more specifically geared towards the condition when you move out. If you have not received notice that a landlord was planning to keep your deposit with a detailed explanation of why, then there is no basis for any landlord to keep your deposit.

The statute of limitations to sue on a written contract is six years. If you did not get your deposit back and there was no reason for it to be withheld, consider small claims, and be sure to ask for twice your deposit. The rules are at RCW 59.18.260, 270 and 280.

Hope this helps. Elizabeth Powell

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