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Your Guide to Returning Security Deposits in Spokane, Washington

Home River Group - Spokane - Friday, October 7, 2022
Property Management Blog

Did you know that the second-most populated city in Washington, behind Seattle, is Spokane? Home to over 500,000 people in the county, Spokane is a top place to settle down.

If you are a landlord in this area, you know this fact all too well. However, when you have a lot of people to manage and rent to, things can get messy when you don't know the law.

Keep reading to learn about security deposits.

How Much Can Landlords Charge?

Before getting into returning security deposits, it's important for landlords to know how much they can charge in Spokane, Washington.

In this state, there is no limit on security deposits at the state level, but cities may have their own cap on security deposits.

Washington does, however, regulate how landlords collect security deposits. Landlords have to allow tenants to pay their deposits in installments. The only exception is if the fees are less than 25% of the monthly rent.

Installment schedules are written and signed by both parties. A landlord has to provide a receipt that includes the location and name of the banking institution where the deposit is being held.

Landlords cannot collect security deposits if the rental agreement is not in writing.

Returning Security Deposits

Washington law states that a landlord must return a security deposit to a tenant within 21 days of their move-out date.

Tenants that leave in good standing will receive most or all of their security deposit. Security deposits aren't free money for landlords.

In some cases, landlords don't have to return security deposits for certain reasons. Landlords are required to disclose in the rental agreement or lease the circumstances in which all or parts of the deposit may be withheld.

At the start of the tenancy, landlords should include a written checklist with specifics of the condition and cleanliness requirements for a rental property.

Once the lease ends, schedule a move-out walkthrough. This is where landlords will document the unit's condition to review any outstanding debts with the tenant.

Security Deposit Disputes

Security deposit disputes are best avoided when everything is clear in writing. One of the most common security deposit disputes involves rentals with multiple tenants named on the lease.

Document who pays the security deposit to avoid this issue.

A security deposit can also be forfeited if a tenant breaks the lease. The lease agreement needs to cover what can lead to the forfeiture of the security deposit.

A former tenant can sue a landlord in small claims court if the landlord refuses to return a security deposit. Landlords need to keep documented proof of everything in case a dispute comes up.

How Hiring Rental Property Management Can Help

Hiring a rental property management company can help landlords stay compliant when it comes to security deposits and other rental topics.

If you want to make sure you are within the law so that you can avoid any disputes, these companies are the way to go. While they work, you get to focus on doing the things that you love.

Contact us today to learn more about how our services can help you.