What happened to my rental deposit? You may have a claim against your landlord if you haven’t received your rental deposit from your residential lease and it has been more than three weeks since you vacated!
Washington Law requires a landlord to provide you, within twenty-one days after terminating the lease and vacating the premises, a full and specific statement of the basis for retaining any of your deposit together with the payment of any refund due under the terms of the rental agreement. That means, your landlord must either: (1) return your deposit in full, (2) return a portion of your deposit along with an explanation as to why they are retaining a portion, or (3) return none of your deposit with an itemized explanation as to why they are retaining all of your deposit.
A landlord who fails to give such a statement together with any refund due the tenant within the time limits specified above, is liable to the tenant for the full amount of the deposit. In addition, the court may award up to two times (2x) the amount of the deposit. The successful party in any such court action is entitled to the cost of the lawsuit, including a reasonable attorney fee. The landlord can avoid liability only by showing that circumstances beyond the landlord’s control prevented the landlord from providing the statement within twenty-one days or that the tenant abandoned the premises.
For a consultation with an experienced landlord-tenant attorney, contact Wendy Saunders with Althauser Rayan Abbarno at (360) 736-1301 or visit us at www.centralialaw.com.