I'd like my security deposit back, please.
November 20, 2012 4:33 PM   Subscribe

I'd like my security deposit back, please.

After months of drama and noise (think drum solos at 3 a.m.) and a rapidly deteriorating abode, I gave my 30 day Notice to Vacate in writing and cleaned up the place nicely. When finished, I took photographs and paraded two of my friends through as witnesses. Next I sent a certified letter requesting return of deposit to my landlord, which he never picked up according to USPS.com. Do I take him to small claims court, or are there other options before I go there? I'm in Nebraska.
posted by Prairie to Law & Government (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You can probably research the tenant laws in your area pretty easily online to get an idea of your rights. You should do this, it's pretty easy (there are whole websites dedicated to rental laws for states and cities). Often there are requirements for your landlord that, if not satisfied, weigh heavily in your favor should you end up in court of any sort (such a window of time to return security deposit, or itemized bill for charges against it).

Find out your rights then call, mail and email to get a response. Proceed with small claims if you don't get one, or don't get a satisfactory one.
posted by wrok at 4:40 PM on November 20, 2012

Per the Family Housing Advisory Services folks (a Nebraska organization):
Q: What if I want my security deposit back?

A: This requires a written letter to the landlord requesting the return of your security deposit after you have vacated the dwelling. You should indicate how much the security deposit was, and an address where the landlord can mail it to. Again, in Nebraska, see the Nebraska Legal Aid’s website and review security deposit information in the Landlord-tenant Handbook (see Links). Call our office to find out about the Iowa rules.
Call the FHAS folks at 402-934-6763, or Nebraska Legal Aid at 877-250-2016. The "Landlord-Tenant Handbook" is at the veeeeeeeeeery bottom of the page I linked to just there.
posted by SMPA at 4:44 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Find out your rights then call, mail and email to get a response.

I thought I would e-mail him, but I can't find any e-mail for him on line (I'm not friending him on fb just to contact him!) Since he doesn't answer the phone, I thought I might text him. He can always say he never got it, and will, I am sure.

Thanks for the link SMPA
posted by Prairie at 6:54 PM on November 20, 2012

In many states the burden is on the landlord to advise you if he intends to keep the deposit. If so he must provide an itemized list to you.

Call the FHAS to determine what his responsibilities are, then sue him.

According to the Nolo site, in Nebraska a landlord has 14 days to return your deposit.

As I always say, once you've filed, call The People's Court and see if they're interested in hearing your case, if you win, you're guaranteed of getting your money.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:22 AM on November 21, 2012

Make sure you keep the certified letter, intact and preferably unopened. If you mailed it to the landlord's correct address, the law is likely to consider you to have contacted the landlord whether or not the landlord bothered to collect the letter. That letter will help to establish that you fulfilled your responsibilities, and failure to claim the letter is likely to work in your favor if this goes to court, because a reasonable judge will see right through that.
posted by jgreco at 6:46 AM on November 21, 2012

You all are magic. I never got my certified letter returned to me, but, end of the month I get an envelope with the deposit in full. He claims he didn't have an address (pure bogus, but we'll leave it.) He hopes I am well.
posted by Prairie at 8:04 PM on December 26, 2012

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