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Posted by: Maricopa Lawyers on Dec 17, 2015

Whether you’re dealing with a landlord or property management company, a big concern when moving out of a rental property is making sure you have that precious security deposit returned to you. Especially if you’re moving to another rental property, you may need to use that money again right away. Unfortunately, some landlords may move at a snail’s pace to refund your security deposit or find excuses to withhold it. Luckily, you can do something about it. Here’s some more info on dealing with penny-pinching, and sometimes downright sleazy landlords.

The Arizona Landlord Tenant act was enacted to regulate the rental of dwelling units and lays out the rights and obligations of both the landlord and the tenant of a rental property. The act covers virtually every aspect of living in a rental property, and lays out all the rights and obligations of all parties involved in a rental agreement. It covers the proper procedures for before, during and after your occupancy in the property, including what happens after you move out.

Essentially, if you’ve fulfilled your obligations as a tenant, and have left the property in the same condition, reasonable wear and tear excepted, you have the right to request your security deposit return in writing. After your landlord has received your request, he or she has 14 days to return your deposit in full, or provide a partial refund with an itemized list of deductions. That being said, there are specific procedural steps you must take in order to ensure that you’re following the law to the letter.

Read your lease carefully, ideally before you sign it, and make sure that you understand everything it contains. Hopefully, when you moved in, you completed a move-in checklist that documented any preexisting damage, and took pictures of every single blemish you found. That way, any claims on your security deposit can be answered. Leaving the property messy does not disqualify you from receiving your security deposit back, but it’s best not to give your landlord any ammo.

It’s also important to take the high road in any disputes with the landlord and stay in compliance with the law in the event that you have to take legal action. It’s also a good idea to document your interactions with him, once the relationship has turned. Especially if your security deposit is a significant amount of money, it’s important to get it back in a timely manner. Speaking to an attorney who is familiar with the Arizona Landlord Tenant Act can ensure that your rights are respected.