Even the most meticulous landlord can experience a security deposit dispute. Thankfully, diligence tends to pay off in such matters. Learn more about how a few basic steps can help you fight and potentially win against a tenant's security deposit dispute, and discover how an experienced landlord-tenant dispute attorney can help.
Illinois' Rules on Security Deposits
Illinois has certain requirements regarding the return of security deposits with which landlords must comply. First and foremost, deposits are supposed to be returned to tenants within 30 to 45 days after they have vacated the premises, depending on whether the tenant disputes any of the deductions that were made against their deposit. If the tenant leased a unit from a property with five or more units, the landlord must also supply the tenant with an itemized statement that explains what deductions have been made, and why.
Dealing with a Tenant Lawsuit
Landlords are highly encouraged to develop a fail-proof system for taking in and ending a contract with tenants. Before and after video photographs, a walk-through checklist (preferably done with the tenant present), receipts and copies of repair or cleaning estimates, and a log of any hours that were spent on cleaning or repairs can both reduce confusion for your tenants and protect you in the event of a lawsuit. Of course, even landlords who take these measures experience disputes over the non-return or partial return of a security deposit – often because they do not agree with all or a portion of the itemized deductions that were made.
Tenants will typically contact their landlord by phone, email, in person, or via postal service before filing a claim. Use this opportunity to try and diffuse the situation, if possible, and if you failed to meet the deadline on their return, do what you can to make it right. Going to small claims court is an inconvenience, and if your tenant wins, you could lose the entire deposit. You may also experience hefty penalties or be assessed for punitive damages if a judge determines that you acted in bad faith. For this reason, landlords are encouraged to contact an attorney if they have reason to believe their tenant may win a dispute; doing so could improve the outcome of the situation.
Contact Our DuPage County Landlord-Tenant Dispute Lawyers
While an attorney is not required in a landlord-tenant dispute, having one on your side can reduce the work and stress that you experience while dealing with a tenant's security deposit dispute. Able to walk you through the steps you can take to protect yourself and your investment, the seasoned DuPage County landlord-tenant dispute lawyers at Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC are the ones to trust. Schedule your personalized consultation by calling 630-665-2500 today.