New Deadline for Deposit Statement on Move-out


Residential landlords in Washington must provide a statement of the security deposit and any refund due after the tenant moves out of the property.[1] This requirement applies whether the tenant moved out in a regular manner—at the end of the lease term or “20-day” notice—or the tenant abandoned the tenancy.

 

The landlord may not withhold any amount of a deposit for normal wear and tear.

 

If the landlord fails to give the required statement in a timely manner, the tenant is entitled to the full amount of the deposit. The prevailing party is entitled to costs, including an attorney fee. A court may award up to two times the security deposit amount for intentional withholding of the deposit.

 

The landlord may not assert any claim or defense for retaining any of the deposit unless the landlord shows that circumstances beyond the landlord’s control prevented sending the statement in a timely manner.

 

For years the deadline to send the security deposit statement was fourteen days. Recent legislation has extended the deadline to twenty-one days.

 

Washington landlord should carefully review the lease before relying on this statute. Some lease terms impose the old fourteen-day deadline. The lease terms would control. This is true even if the lease has expired and the tenancy has gone month-to-month.

 

This is a short summary of law. For advice about your circumstances you should consult an attorney.

[1] RCW 59.18.280.