Security Deposits in Columbia

1 decade 2 years 7 months ago Thursday, February 23 2006 Feb 23, 2006 Thursday, February 23, 2006 5:31:58 PM CST February 23, 2006 in News

Being a college town, most of Columbia's residents rent.  Where is the security in security deposits?  Security deposits. Every renter pays them.  A sum of money that insures the renter will keep their rented space in good condition.  The problem is many renters never see any of that money again. 

I don't think that I have ever heard anyone ever, any college student in Columbia that oh yeah i was able to get even 85-90 percent of my security deposit back, it's always usually in that minimal level." renter Kajal Pandya said.

A minimal level that seems to be acceptable in a college town.

"I really don't expect to get any money back anymore, because I have seen that happen to my roommates who moved out and needed to get their security deposits back, it's pretty much that same cycle," Pandya said.

When a tenant moves out and a landlord then decides to keep some of that money from the security deposit, maybe one or two hundred dollars, the tenant may not think it's worth the time or the energy to get that money back.  Lawyers in Columbia do not deal with many of these cases because of exactly that, the amount of money is too small for a court battle. 

"Security deposits in the amount of five hundred dollars to one thousand dollars, maybe fifteen hundred dollars, it's not much money when you talk about going to court, consequently you have a lot of arguments, but few cases that find themselves in a reported decision context." lawyer Skip Walther said.  The Missouri Revised Statute regarding landlord-tenant action shows that ordinary wear and tear is expected during the duration of the lease, and should not be a reason for a landlord to keep the deposit.  But what is ordinary wear and tear?  "There are so few cases in Missouri that define what ordinary wear and tear is, it really leaves quite a big loophole for landlords to go through if that's what they choose to do."

On top of that loophole do many landlords even know the line themselves?  "You will find in any town unscrupulous landlords who will do what they can to retain as much of the security deposits as they can, regardless of what the law says, and in fact there are a lot landlords that don't know what the law obligates them to do."

Landlords feel when they give specific guidelines, tenants should comply or else they will pay the price.  "We give our expectations to our tenants, we don't hide anything from them, we're not trying to scam them, we're not trying to be you know out to get them. We treat them as adults, we expect them to live in their places as adults, just because you are in college does not give you permission to trash your place." Boone Property Manager Amanda Stone said.  How hard is it to comply with these standards?  There may be no guaranteed way to get your security deposit back.  But the only recommendations are to maintain a good relationship with your landlord and be absolutely clear on what they expect.  For more information about your rights in security deposits you can check the Missouri Revised Statutes online or visit our website at KOMU.com.

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