How to Handle Security Deposits in Your Rental Property

There is a new law in 2014 that affects how landlords are required to handle security deposits in Utah, so you’ll want to forget everything you knew before and focus on what is currently required. Now, you have 30 days to send the security deposit back to your tenant. If they aren’t getting the security deposit back, you’ll need to send a letter explaining that. The deposit or the letter has to go to the last known address. In the past, you had to wait for the tenant to provide you with a forwarding address, but now you cannot wait.

When your tenants move out without giving you a forwarding address, the last known address you’ll be sending the deposit to is probably the address of your property or unit, where they had been living. You might send it and get it returned to you and if that happens, just file it until you do get a forwarding address.

There are essentially three types of letters you can send and your tenant will get one of these three. The first type of letter is one that says ‘congratulations, you’re getting your whole security deposit back.’ You’ll include the check with that letter. The second type of letter will say ‘congratulations, you’re getting most of your security deposit back, but there was some damage to the property, and this is what we kept.’ The third type of letter will explain that the charges for damage exceeded the amount of the security deposit and you’ll be pursuing legal action to recover the rest of what is owed.

When the tenants don’t receive their deposit back, the tenants have to send you notification in writing. This is also a change. They have to give you a forwarding address and let you know they are requesting their security deposit. Once they notify you, get that deposit back right away. In the state of Utah, you will be penalized for not getting that deposit back to them. You’ll need to refund their full deposit plus a $100 fee. Also, if they take you to court and win, you’ll be responsible for their legal costs. That’s not something you want to deal with, so send back that deposit in a timely manner.

The changes in laws regarding security deposits can be hard to keep up with. If you have any questions or need any help, please contact us today.

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