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Securing your security deposit

Posted at 7:19 PM, May 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-09 19:19:27-04

MUSKEGON, Mich. -- Moving out of a rental unit can turn into a 'he said, she said' situation when the tenant is accused of causing damage, whether or not that's true. There are steps a renter and landlord can take to make sure everyone is treated fairly starting when the renter first moves in.

Tony Williams said his son Kameron moved out of Glenside Estate Townhouses in Muskegon in June 2016. However, for months, he said Kameron struggled to get his security deposit back.

"When you pay your security deposit [in] good faith, paid your monthly bills [in] good faith, and you move out and the complex, apartment complex was in good order, then in turn they should just reciprocate in good faith and abide by the terms of the lease," Williams said.

"So I got involved, made some contacts, tracked them down, sent them a letter requesting that they refund his security deposit," Williams explained.

Williams finally received a $400 check in the mail on April 10th. That's nine months after he moved out. CKN Management said there were issues mailing out the check. However, Tony Williams said security deposit was $650 dollars and that his left the apartment in good condition.

"It's $250," he said.

"It's not a considerable amount of money, but I think it is the principal of the matter more than anything. The fact that you did not provide in writing why you only refunded $400. You just sent a check," Williams said.

When FOX 17 called Glenside Estates, the manager claimed Williams' son left trash, that blinds were damaged, and that the refrigerator needed to be cleaned out. CKN also said $100 hundred dollars automatically go towards a carpet cleaning fee and that it's written in the rental agreement.

John Masterson with the Better Business Bureau said, "We get these complaints fairly often."

He said renters should read and understand the lease before signing, document everything by taking pictures upon moving in and communicate any damage in writing to management.

"So moving out, you want to do the same thing but in reverse," he explained.

"You've moved out all your stuff. You're going to go through and make sure there aren't any damages from you, and that you have those marked down... if that happened. You then have 30 days to provide them with a forwarding address for them to send your security deposit. The lessor then has 30 days to send you the security deposit," Masterson said.

The BBB said property management or a landlord needs to provide an itemized list of deductions. That's something Williams said he never got and that CKN acknowledges. CKN said it would be happy to sit down with Williams and talk about the rental agreement and the deductions.