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Wake County Security Deposit Litigation for Residential Real Estate


Raleigh residential investment property landlords must become familiar with the Tenant Security Deposit Act. This law governs the required steps that must be taken by landlords to ensure that tenants cannot recover their entire security deposit unless it is owed to them. If a landlord has failed to comply with any of the requirements of the Tenant Security Deposit Act, the resident can recover their security deposit in full through civil litigation.  Additionally, attorney fees can be awarded in the event of willful noncompliance with the statute. The Raleigh civil attorneys of Maginnis Howard represent income property companies in various matters.  The firm’s lawyers can be reached at (919) 526-0450 or through the submission of a new case inquiry.

For a tenancy longer than month to month, the security deposit can be as much as two months rent.  When a security deposit is first received, there are some initial requirements of the landlords.  The deposit must be held in a separate trust account with a licensed and insured bank located within North Carolina (or a bond can be furnished from an insurance company). The landlord must then notify the tenant within 30 days after the beginning of his lease term of the name and address of the bank or the name of the insurance company.

When the tenancy period ends – if the lease has ended or after proper notice following a conversion to a month to month tenancy – the security deposit funds must be returned along with an itemized statement no later than 30 days after termination of the tenancy and delivery of possession of the premises. If the amount to be refunded can’t be determined within 30 days, the landlord must send an intermediate accounting statement within 30 with a final statement to be sent within 60 days.  Security deposits can be set off against nonpayment of rent, damage to the premises, unpaid bills of the tenant that become liens, costs of removal or storage of items, court costs.

Tenants can file civil litigation to recover wrongfully withheld portions of a security deposit. If the terms of the Security Deposit Act are not met, landlords are prohibited from withholding any of the funds and could be subject to paying the attorney fees of the tenant.

If you are a landlord of an investment property or properties, Maginnis Howard can assist with a variety of different legal matters.  Maginnis Howard is a Raleigh civil litigation firm handling landlord-tenant matters in Cary, Apex, Wake Forest and the rest of Wake County. Contact the firm at (919) 526-0450 to discuss your matter or submit a new case inquiry here.