Seattle, WA asked in Animal / Dog Law, Landlord - Tenant and Small Claims for Idaho

Q: My landlord is keeping my pet deposit for scratches on her door that she showed me. I couldn't see any. I've had people

Over and they could not see any either. I took pictures but my phone got stolen. When I moved out I gave her a demand letter which she did not respond to. She never gave me a letter telling me why she was keeping my deposit. She also never kept my deposits in a separate account. Regarding my cleaning deposit, I got it all back except $15 that she thought she earned by picking up a plastic valance to a plastic blind that was leaning against the wall. I should of charged her for cleaning because it was 75% cleaner than when I moved in. Sorry, back to the pet deposit. When I was handing her my pet prescription she said it doesn't matter. She denies this now. My dogs didn't make any scratches, invisible or not. There is a door , the one with "scratches " that goes on to enclosed porch that has a doggy door. When I would let them out I would leave the door open enough to where they could come in when they wanted to. The dogs are a weiner dog and a chiweeny dog. Smart dogs. It's her wo

1 Lawyer Answer
Kevin M Rogers
Kevin M Rogers
  • Boise, ID
  • Licensed in Idaho

A: It is the security deposit that landlords are NOT entitled to keep. If your contract HAS a provision for a pet deposit, the landlord’s keeping it COULD BE a pitifully slow way for her to build her fortune, one pet deposit after another! But I doubt that. Instead I think that your dear pet MSY HAVE left a scratch visible (perhaps) only to the landlord). The LL CAN keep the pet deposit on 2 conditions:

1. If she gives you notice that there are scratches when you ask for it; and,

2. She can prove it to the court when you sue for return of your money.

The BIG QUESTION is: is it worth the additional money it will cost you to sue her (which is exactly why landlords keep these deposits- they don’t think tenants have the know-how or the money to sue them!

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