Security Deposit Disputes

Maryland landlords have to return a security deposit within 45 days after a lease ends and the tenant moves out unless the landlord sends a letter itemizing the alleged damages to the unit and the cost incurred by the landlord to fix those items.  Normal wear and tear cannot be listed as one of these damages, and the damages must not have already been there when the tenant moved in.  If the landlord does not send the letter, their ability to withhold the security deposit for damages is waived even if there are damages to the property.

Note that the landlord has to know where to send the unspent security deposit, so you should let the landlord know your new address and make sure that your landlord didn’t send the security deposit or the letter to an old address.   

Md. Code, R. Prop. § 8-203 is the Maryland Security Deposit Statute.  If the landlord violates the statue, a tenant may be entitled to up to three times the amount of the security deposit that was withheld, and may also recover reasonable attorneys’ fees from the landlord.  This makes it easier to find an attorney to handle your case without upfront cost to you. If you are interested in finding an attorney, Civil Justice can help. Call us at (410) 706-0174 or fill out our online intake form here.     

If your landlord has withheld your security deposit without sending the notice to your last known address within 45 days, or is withholding all or some of your security deposit for damages that didn’t exist or is overcharging you for the repairs, you should gather evidence and then call Civil Justice, free of charge, at (410) 706-0174 or fill out our online intake form here.  Helpful evidence to gather includes a copy of the lease, the copy of any correspondence from the landlord about damages, and any pictures you have of any damage or of the property.  

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