Question about security deposits in rentals

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Question about security deposits in rentals

Postby Masaba » Fri Oct 09, 2009 7:49 am

My wife and I recently moved out of a townhouse that we had rented for 2 years 4 months. When we moved out we cleaned the place, and did a final walkthrough with our landlady. During the walkthrough, she was being extremely picky about cleanliness (ie, she claims that I needed to scrub the concrete deck in order to get the mildew off).

Anyway, she filled out a final checklist and marked everything as clean (she did put a few notes in the dirty column on a few things, but marked 'OKAY' in the clean column) except for the floor of the deck and the oven (she said that we should have cleaned the air filters in the oven hood). At the end of the walkthrough I asked her if we would get our deposit back and she replied 'Yes, absolutely.'

Two weeks later we get a check from her and a statement saying that she kept $250 dollars of our deposit. The items that she listed were

$160 for cleaning the carpet
$40 for cleaning the deck floor
$30 for 'scratches' on the kitchen faucet (due to using an abrasive sponge, ie. a kitchen sponge with the mildly abrasive side)
$20 for 'scratches' in the fridge (due to the same sponge)

I'm seriously considering taking her to small claims court to get my deposit back, as WA state law dictates that a security deposit cannot be retained for normal wear and tear. Additionally, she did not bring up any of this stuff in our final walkthrough (except the deck, which is clearly normal wear and tear). Finally, she lied to me, which really gets under my skin. However, I'm wondering if it is worth my time. Has anyone else had any experience with this? Will the judge say that this is just standard practice?

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Re: Question about security deposits in rentals

Postby anforowicz » Fri Oct 09, 2009 7:30 pm

Did you try (Tenants Union of Washington) to find more information?

I hope that you can send an update with your experience after everything is resolved.
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