When you move out, your landlord must either return your deposit (plus interest, if applicable) within 15 days of termination of the lease, or justify in writing, within a 30 day period, why he is keeping a portion or all of the money. The justification must be sent by certified mail to your last known mail address.
If the notice is not sent as required within the 30-day period, the landlord forfeits his right to impose a claim unless you failed to give proper notice prior to vacating.
If the tenant objects to the landlord retaining all or a portion of the deposit the matter may be taken to Small Claims Court.
Also take note that should you prevail in your case, the landlord would be responsible for your attorney's fees. Find and attorney in your area and consult with them asap.
Zonald Spinks, Esq. Phone: (813) 413-5352 Fax: (813) 658-5893 Twitter: @ZonaldLaw Skype: Zonaldlaw Disclaimer: legal information is not the same as legal advice -- the application of law to an individual's specific circumstances. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a lawyer if you want professional assurance that this information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation. This information is not intended as legal advice for an individual situation, it is only provided as information.
By statute the landlord has 30 days to mail you a letter and let you know why he is laying claim to your deposit. He has 15 if he plans on returning the deposit. Wait the 30 days and if you don't receive a letter detailing why the deposit is held, then you could sue to get your deposit back. You can request interest on any judgment you win after suing.