Changes to the Security Deposit Return Act

Landlords and tenants often end up fighting, and sometimes the arguments continue well past the end of the tenancy.  You may have had a bad landlord, or a bad tenant, but the fact is, not all landlords are bad, and neither are all tenants.  Periodically the state legislature makes little tweaks to various laws to acknowledge either or both of these assertions.

Recently, for example, the legislature tweaked the Security Deposit Return Act.  Pursuant to this Act, the landlord must give the tenant an itemized list of the damage the tenant caused to the landlord’s property within 30 days after the tenant leaves, along with the cost (either actual or estimated) of repairing the same.  This notice must be given to the tenant personally, or at his last known address.  Effective January 1, 2013, however, landlords have the option of sending this notice via electronic mail to an e-mail address that has been previously verified by the landlord (perhaps an e-mail address on which the landlord and tenant communicated with each other earlier — the statute uses the word “verified” but does not state exactly what that means).

Regardless, this revision helps get around an argument often used by tenants, namely that the tenant did not receive the notice.  In many cases, the tenant truly has not received the notice because he had left the landlord’s property before the notice was prepared, and he is not living at the address he lived at prior to moving to the landlord’s property.  If the notice is sent via electronic mail, the landlord can have a greater degree of confidence that it will actually be received by the tenant.

For more information on the Security Deposit Return Act, click here.