How to get your security deposit dispute back in 4 steps

We are able to help you resolve your small claims dispute about 10 times faster than small claims court by using online arbitration.

Apr 04, 2019
Joe De Larauze
Joe De Larauze

Have you recently moved out of your old apartment? Has your landlord kept your security deposit even though you left the place in perfect condition? Have they unjustly claimed that you damaged the place to keep your deposit? Or do you currently have a landlord who is negligent, doesn’t take care of repairs, and might pull a stunt like this when you move out?

Though you could take this case to Small Claims Court, it is very likely that it will cost you a lot, and take time and effort. You should be able to solve issues like this without a hassle, which is why other solutions (called Online Dispute Resolution platforms) exist to help you. These are really just ways for you to take care of your security deposit problem entirely online, and in a much quicker and cheaper way.

Here’s how to do it in four steps:


1. Be ahead of the game

    • Give your landlord at least 30 days notice that you are moving out, so they can’t charge you extra rent
    • Clean the unit so your landlord doesn’t have a reason to claim part or all of the security deposit for repairs
    • Give your landlord your forwarding address so they can send the deposit to your new address
    • Ask to be present when your landlord inspects the unit
    • File your claim within a year of having moved out (a year is usually how long it takes before your claim expires)
    • Read any leasing contract or other documents associated with the apartment


2. Make your case

    • Using an online dispute resolution platform, state your complaint in detail
    • Submit any evidence (photos, videos, documents) electronically and add any witnesses you would like to testify on your behalf
    • Know your rights. A standard rule is that your landlord can only keep a part or all of your deposit for damages that are greater than the normal wear and tear. So if the dishwasher is really old or broken, it’s your landlord’s job to replace it, not yours. But if you leave a giant hole in the wall, you’re probably going to have to pay for that




3. Schedule your hearing or settle

    • If your landlord decides to settle without a hearing, you will be paid directly through the online platform
    • If they pursue an online hearing, an arbitrator will be assigned to your case (depending on which platform you use). Online hearings typically last 30 minutes, and should be scheduled at a convenient time for you


4. Attend your hearing

    • During this video conference hearing, a trained, neutral arbitrator will hear your case, review your evidence, and give a binding and court-enforceable judgment. If you’ve covered your bases (step 1), this should be a walk in the park
    • If you receive a ruling in your favor, the online platform will ensure you are paid promptly.
    • If you happen to lose the case, the platform you are using will walk you through your next steps

That’s all it takes! Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) platforms tend to be much faster than traditional litigation, simpler to navigate, and entirely online. The legal system should be a useful and efficient tool that enforces justice. And you have better things to do than spend hours learning about your rights, paying hundreds of dollars in court fees, and taking the time and energy to appear in court. Thanks to these ODR solutions, your security deposit dispute can be taken care of quickly, cheaply, and without any stress.

This is the last step to moving out of that old apartment. Might as well make something out of it. Learn more about specific ODR solutions like Zeyo, or drop us a note at support@zeyo.co.