Leasing or renting a place to live off-campus can be a very exciting and positive experience. However, it can also be confusing and overwhelming. The following links will provide you with information and resources to help you successfully navigate your off-campus experience from signing a lease to moving out and getting your security deposit back:
A security deposit is any amount of money or property provided to the landlord to secure performance by the tenant under a rental agreement. The landlord will most likely will require you to pay a deposit to cover any unpaid rent or damages you might cause during your tenancy. The deposit is refundable if there is not damage and/or unpaid rent at the end of your lease. A security deposit, however, does not give the tenant permission to damage the property during the leasing period.
Give your landlord, IN WRITING, your forwarding address when you move out. Once you have left, the landlord has 30 days to return your security deposit. If you don’t get all of it back, the landlord must send an itemized statement explaining the deductions.
For information on what you can do during move in and out that may help you get a fair amount of your security deposit returned or if you believe your security deposit is being unfairly withheld, click on the following link for options:
You can sue the landlord in Small Claims Court if
- the landlord doesn’t respond to your request within thirty (30) days;
- he or she didn’t return your security deposit or give you a list of repairs and costs within thirty (30) days; or
- the landlord returned some or none of your deposit and gave you a list of repairs and costs, but you don’t agree with the amounts.
You will have to fill out and file court forms and go to court to explain your case. You do not need a lawyer for Small Claims court. For more information, see our booklet, Small Claims Court.
You can file a complaint with the Banking Department if
- you gave the landlord your new mailing address using certified mail with a return receipt requested, and
- the landlord does not return your deposit or only returned part of your deposit without giving you the list of repairs.
You can get a rental complaint form at the Connecticut Department of Banking website (http://www.ct.gov/dob). Send your complaint and copies of the documents they ask for to:
Security Deposit Investigator
Connecticut Department of Banking
260 Constitution Plaza
Hartford, CT 06103-1800
Tel: 860-240-8154, or 800-831-7225, ext. 8154
Move In/Out Inspections
Before you move into your apartment or house, inspect your rental and record anything that is in need of repair, damaged, or hazardous. You can use the sample check-in form by clicking the link below. If you find something wrong with the rental and it is not on the check-in form, make a note of it in the additional comments section.
Ideally, your landlord should be present when you inspect the property. After inspection is completed, ask your landlord to sign the checklist to ensure that you both agree to the outcome of the inspection. Furthermore, be sure you and your landlord are in agreement as to how the problems will be fixed. How these problems should be fixed should be listed in your lease.
It is best to videotape or photograph your inspection of you apartment or house. The key is to take pictures of everything. It is also important that you can prove that the pictures or video that you took are dated accurately. Holding up the daily newspaper in your picture is one way to do this. It is not absolute proof, but it is better than nothing. Also, do not pause the tape if you are videotaping because it may look like it has been edited. Be sure to take the same precautions when you move out of your apartment or house to help prove your case regarding the condition you left your place if it is challenged by your landlord.