Getting your security deposit back

Seven On Your Side
May 7, 2008 4:18:50 PM PDT
It's a common complaint we receive. How do you get your security deposit back from your landlord? There are some easy tips to help - but when all else fails, it's time for Seven on your Side. "I want my money...I want my money back," said Amal McMillian. Single mom Amal McMillian is defiant. She wants her $625 apartment deposit back.

"I have two kids, and if that's the policy where I get my deposit back at the end of the lease I think I should have my money back," said McMillian.

Amal moved out of her fourth floor apartment in a Bed-Stuy building last September. Her lease with landlord, Lex Rex promised the deposit back "within 30 days" after she left.

When the tenant leaves it's a good idea that they dcument the condition of the apartment, they could take photographs, they could take videotape," said Real Estate attorney Mark Altschul.

And that's just what Amal did.

He moved her furniture out, cleaned and videotaped everything from the kitchen to the living room.

However, even with the tape, eight months went by and Amal still couldn't get her money back.

"It was so easy for me to give them my security deposit and so hard to get my money back," adds McMillian.

Eyewitness News' Tappy Phillips went to Amal's old management company, and were shut out. But after a few calls the doors suddenly started opening. and Amal got her deposit back - plus interest.

"The employee that did make this large mistake was fired yesterday and we've made internal changes just to make sure that this doesn't happen again," said a member of the management company.

Our expert also advises to get a receipt or some written record when you turn in the apartment keys. If you mail them, send them registered mail and of course get photos of the apartment condition, just like Amal did.