Prepare for a fight to get your rental deposit back

KUTV Apartments Gephardt 101117.JPG
Prepare for a fight to get your rental deposit back (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) For three months, Cynthia Padilla has been fighting to get her rental deposit back from the Sandalwood apartments in West Valley City.

"For a month we went back and forth," she said.

Cynthia says getting the apartment management to admit they owed her a refund was a challenge in the first place. They originally told her that she owes to replace carpet, repaint, and clean.

Cynthia says she challenged the necessity of the repairs because she feels she left the place in perfect condition.

The apartment managers eventually relented and agreed she was due a refund. Months later she can’t the apartment managers to follow through and send a check and the mangers stopped responding to her, she said.

"They owe me money,” she said. “I shouldn't have to beg for it back or fight for it back. If it was the other way around, I'd be in collections right now."

Get Gephardt took it to renters' rights attorney Marty Blaustein who says, by law, the landlord cannot use your money to renovate their property. It can only be used to fix what you broke.

"If a tenant does damage to the property, it’s the tenant's responsible to repair the damage," he said.

Blaustein says tenants in Utah should be prepared for a fight. He says the best way to force a landlord’s hand is to take lots of photos when you move in and then a lot more when you move out so you can demonstrate that you are leaving the place in good condition.

Also, when you ask for your deposit back, do so in writing, Blausteins says.

"In this town, landlords very rarely want to give you anything back," he said.

Nobody from the Sandalwood Apartments would talk to Get Gephardt on camera, nor would they answer questions about why this rental deposit refund was taking so long. Still, they had some good news for Cynthia.

The apartments are under new management and the new managers, indeed, refunded Cynthia’s deposit.