Legal Questions August Part 1
Kimball,Tirey & St.John LLP
Landlord/Tenant Questions & Answers
Ted Kimball, Esq.
My tenant moved in a few years ago with a roommate, and they paid the security deposit
together. One roommate moved out and another roommate moved in. At that time, the rent
was increased and they paid some additional security deposit. Who is entitled to the security
deposit when the unit is vacated?
You should make the check out to all of them unless you receive in writing from any one of them
that he or she has relinquished all rights to the security deposit to the others.
Can a court action regarding a security deposit dispute be appealed?
If the action was in small claims court, you can only appeal if you were the defendant, and then
the case is heard all over again.
Under a twelve-month lease on a single family home, if a tenant breaks a window and does not
repair it after a week or two, can we take the money out of the next rent payment?
It is better to fix the window, or require the tenant to fix the window with a licensed contractor. If
the tenant refuses to pay or fix the window, serve a 3-Day Notice to Perform Conditions and/or
Covenants or Quit. If he/she refuses to pay or fix the window in three days, you can commence
We have a tenant who has been in the unit for one year and has painted it dark purple. Can I
charge the resident for returning the paint color to white when he vacates the unit?
Yes, if you have a lease covenant against making alterations without your consent. You can
only charge the actual cost of turning the paint from purple back to white.
After sending a tenant an itemized disposition of security deposit, (there is a balance due to us),
how long must I wait before taking her to court? Should I contact her one more time before
You can take the tenant to court immediately, and if your lease was written, the time within
which you must bring an action is 4 years.
A former tenant is threatening to sue us over the security deposit we returned. They cashed the
check yesterday. Does that mean that they “agree” with the amount?
No, they can still cash the check and claim you owe them more of the deposit.