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What can we do if a landlord is late (>30days) in returning our security deposit?

Troy, MI |

Myself and two other roommates rented a place and separately paid 1/3 of the security deposit. On our contract, we moved out July 31st. We missed giving him the forwarding address within 4 days. On Sept 1st he provided a letter which was not legally correct and we disputed the claims. At the same time he sent our checks on the same day (postage marked). If it's beyond the 30 days (it is exactly 31 days) does our landlord lose claim to the charges (partial for utilities, repair, and cleaning fees)? Also I read that cleaning fees are not to be removed from a security deposit. Is this correct also?

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Attorney answers 1


Your summary is a bit difficult to follow. It sounds like you received your checks. The landlord has 30 days from the date of your providing the forwarding address, in order to send you a list of damages/charges or return your deposit. You then have 7 days to object. It sounds like he sent you a check instead of the list of damages. I see no cause of action on your part, especially since you did not meet the requirement of providing a forwarding address.

Cleaning fees can be withheld, if that was agreed to under the lease. If that was not agreed to, then you may be able to file a small claims action against the landlord. Unless the cleaning fees were excessive, I would not bother.

James Frederick

***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!

Robert E. Harris Jr.

Robert E. Harris Jr.


Typically you have 14 days to provide your forwarding address.

James P. Frederick

James P. Frederick


The tenant must provide written notice of a forwarding address within 4 days of vacating the premises. If this is not done, the landlord has no duty to make arrangements for returning the deposit. If the forwarding address is provided within 4 days, then the landlord has 30 days to respond. Asker might benefit from reviewing the Michigan Tenant Landlord Booklet published by the State of Michigan. It spells out all timelines and duties of both parties.

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