Local tenants have a right to security deposit refund


The horror stories are everywhere. Bad roommates, nasty landlords and unkempt properties are a few of many complaints tenants have about their time in an apartment complex.

Fortunately, there are many resources available to tenants that can help make next year’s lease more bearable.

According to the Landlord Tenant Handbook published by the Students’ Legal Assistance office, the No. 1 complaint from tenants is that their landlord kept the security deposit without reason. Although the deposit is kept through the duration of the lease, tenants are allowed a full refund if they keep the apartment in adequate condition.

Ray Conley, owner of Conley Properties, 427 Normal Road, Unit M, said he takes a security deposit for two reasons.

“A security deposit ensures the tenant is serious about the contract [before moving in] and is also used as leverage for when they move out,” he said.

Conley said he believes tenants have a right to a refund as long as they do what is expected and said 95 percent of his tenants get their security deposits back after the lease is up.

Regardless of who a tenant lives with, roommate issues can also arise during apartment living. Conley said that unless the problems are serious, there is not much that can be done.

“It’s really tough,” Conley said. “The only time a person could take action is if they cross a legal line or financial liability line.”

Conley said tenants can go to the police if threats have been made by a roommate. If a roommate is not paying rent, a tenant can take the case to a small claims court in order to get the money.

Freshman English major Eric Nofsinger plans on living in an apartment with two of his friends next year. He chose to live with them to ensure quality living conditions.

“I wanted to be comfortable with the people I was going to live with,” Nofsinger said.

Despite any problems that may occur, Conley said tenants’ main responsibility is to follow through with commitments.

“Just because you’re renting doesn’t mean you can abuse it,” Conley said.