Security Deposits in Burlington
When it comes to security deposits, Burlington has its own laws that differ from the rest of the state. In Burlington you cannot charge a security deposit that is greater than one months rent. You may be asking "Well, what about a pet deposit?" Burlington allows landlords to charge an additional security deposit that is equal to half a months rent to be held as a pet deposit. If the tenant has a pet because of a physical or psychological disability you may not charge a pet deposit. All deposits must then be held in an interest bearing account and when the tenant moves out, the security deposit and any interest that has accumulated minus the necessary deductions, must be paid back to the tenant. Burlington ordinances require landlords and tenants to sign off on a mutually agreed upon move-in inspection that states any damages that exist at the beginning of tenancy. This move-in inspection can then be used when the tenant moves out to determine any necessary deductions. Necessary deductions are things that have been damaged beyond normal wear and tear, any unpaid rent or utility bills, and pay for expenses incurred for moving tenants belongings after s/he has vacated. In Burlington a tenant may not use their security deposit as a substitute for last months rent.
When a tenant moves out, s/he is responsible for providing the landlord with a forwarding address which the security deposit can be mailed to. The landlord then has 14 days to document and record necessary deductions (if any) and refund the remainder of the security deposit plus interest with a written statement of the deductions. This statement must also inform the tenant that s/he has 30 days to appeal any deductions by requesting a hearing before the Burlington Housing Board of Review.
As you can see, it is extremely important to know the laws surrounding security deposits and have a system in place to document pre-move in and move-out damages. At Stone & Browning Property Management we follow a detailed process for every move-in and move-out. We photographically document any damages that are present before a tenant moves in, determine any deductions that are needed at move out, deal with the paperwork, notices, and refunds. We keep ourselves organized so you don't have to!