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What steps should I take to insure that my landlord gives us our deposits?

Orlando, FL |

Our landlord says she will be out of state at the time of our move out and is sending in the next tenant (who is also a realtor) to do the final walk through. Our lease is not up until the end of the month but are leaving early because we are moving out of state but we have paid our last months rent and have done everything that the lease says. The landlord has also stated that our pet deposit is non refundable but in the lease it does not specify this-- can she keep our pet deposit? We have a feeling she is going to try and keep both of our deposits which is over $1400 together.

We have also sent her a 60 day notice in May letting her know we were leaving early and have asked her to sign it and then return it to us so we may have it for our records she has not done this and I have asked her several times for it can she use this against us? I have emails where she says she has received it.

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Attorney answers 3


Take photographs, plenty of them, of he conditions. Video is even better. And you might wish to consider hiring a home cleaning company to come in to do the clean up for you. Yes, it is an expense, but there are several advantages: 1) you do not have to do the clean up yourself, saving your time for packing and moving; 2) you will have witnesses to be able to testify if need be that the premises was in spic and span condition when you vacated.

Of course that is what they would testify to--are they going to admit they did a lousy job of cleaning? Of course not.

If you do not feel you can incur the expense, then have your own walk through with some one who is local who can then testify in court of needed. In the past, I have used a process server, someone whose testimony is just about unimpeachable, since they are in essence officers of the court system.

If the lease does not indicate that the pet deposit is non-refundable, then it isn't. Again, you can read the tea leaves and anticipate that the landlady will try to just claim there were pet stains on the carpet, and again, you will want photos + live witnesses who can testify to the contrary.

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If you know your forwarding address, write a letter to the landlord and give the forwarding address to her. If you don't know your forwarding address, write the letter to the landlord as soon as you have it. Send the letter through USPS and send it certified.

If you don't have the deposit back within thirty days after turning in the key and giving possession to the LL, then you can send a demand letter to the LL certified mail stating that you must have the deposit back or you will sue in small claims court.

Goodluck. Take plenty of pictures. LLs can keep pet fees. LLs cannot keep pet deposits unless the Tenant's animals cause cleaning or repairs to be made.


I agree with the two previous answers. Just make sure that you keep copies of all e-mails, photographs of the property when you are ready to leave, and any letters that you send to the landlord. I would also suggest sending all letters by certified mail in the future, so you have proof that she received it. In addition, I would ask for a walk through with the landlord before you leave. If you are able to work out the walk through, it might help make your move less stressful.