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Friday September 1, 2017

posted by David A. Ehsan
Tags: In the news 

I have had several clients come to me regarding a landlord refusing to return their security deposit after their lease is over. Jefferson County has adopted the Kentucky Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. The Act’s purpose was to improve the quality of housing and to proscribe clear rules to be followed by the landlord and the tenant. KRS 383.580 specifically addresses the issue of security deposits.

There are two mistakes that landlords typically make when keeping a tenant’s security deposit. First, the landlord must keep the tenant’s security deposit in a separate bank account used only for that purpose. Tenants must be informed of the account’s location and the account number. KRS 383.580(1). Landlords often will not keep the security deposit in a separate bank account, which entitles the tenant to have his security deposit returned.

Second, prior to the tenant providing a security deposit a landlord is required to provide the tenant a comprehensive listing of any then-existing damage to the unit, which could be a basis for charge against the security deposit. The landlord and tenant are then to sign the comprehensive listing if they agree on the list. If the tenant disagrees with the accuracy of the listing he is to state in writing the items he disagrees with and sign the document. KRS 383.580(2). This comprehensive listing is usually called the move-in sheet. A landlord complying with the Act will do a “walk through” with the tenant and list any damage to unit prior to the tenant’s occupancy.

When the tenant’s occupancy is over the landlord is required to provide the tenant a second comprehensive listing of any damage to the unit after an inspection, which is a basis for any charge against the security deposit. KRS 383.580(3). This listing is called the move-out sheet. The landlord should do this “walk through” in the presence of the tenant and if the parties agree to the damages listed in the document they both should sign it. Some landlords will fail to do a move-in sheet and move-out sheet and provide these documents to tenant. This entitles the tenant to a refund of his security deposit.

If your landlord has refused to return your security deposit and has failed to either provide you a comprehensive listing of damage to the unit (move-in or move-out sheet) or failed to inform you of the separate bank account he is keeping your security deposit then you are entitled to the return of your deposit.

A letter stating the requirements of the Kentucky Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act will often be sufficient to a landlord who has violated Act for return of the security deposit.