The following is the law as it relates to Security Deposit Refunds in North Dakota. With ND being the second ranked state in the United States with respect to Oil and Gas production, rentals are booming and one should be well advised on their rights concerning security deposit refunds.
Many do not know that landlord is obligated to pay market interest on your security deposit if apartment was occupied more than 9 months! You may ask why I only stated the security deposit code for North Dakota.
As far as my research reveals, there is little federal law governing landlord/tenant disputes dealing with security deposits and North Dakota statues appear very similar, if not identical, to other USA states.
Somewhat related is the tenant query Can your landlord take your property for unpaid rent? The answer is NO. Landlord can NOT confiscate Tenant’s belongings for the purpose of rent collections. However, landlord can evict you for being arrears on rent if you try to play that card too long!!
SECURITY DEPOSIT REFUND
At the end of a lease, a landlord must return a tenant’s security deposit (plus interest if the unit was occupied nine months or longer), or give the tenant a written accounting as to why the deposit (or any part of the deposit) will not be returned. The landlord must mail or deliver the deposit within 30 days after the day the tenant vacated and the lease expired. As a practical matter, actual receipt of the security deposit may be delayed by several days if the tenant fails to provide the landlord with accurate forwarding address information. The landlord may deduct, from the security deposit, amounts to cover damage from tenants or their guests, unpaid rent, and /or costs of cleaning or other repairs, with the exception of reasonable wear and tear. The landlord must provide an itemized list of any deductions.
If a landlord sells a rental property, the new owner has the same rights and obligations. The security deposits and interest must be transferred to the new owner or the seller remains liable. The new owner is bound by the provisions of N.D.Cent.Code § 47-16-07.1.4 even though he/she did not receive the original security deposit.
If a tenant does not receive the security deposit back, or is not satisfied with the landlord’s accounting, the tenant can take the matter to Small Claims Court. There, it is up to the landlord to justify the amounts withheld. The court can award damages to the tenant up to three times the amount withheld without reasonable justification from the tenant’s security deposit. This is called “treble damages.” Treble damages need to be requested when completing court papers.
Any security deposit unclaimed by the owner for more than one year is presumed abandoned. A number of New Mexico landlords have used this last statement as their ace in the hole. Act promptly and demand that your apartment owner acknowledges receipt of your deposit refund request!