Q: Landlord says previous owners responsible for security deposit return
My current landlord of a commercial property said that I have to ask the previous bankrupt owners for the security deposit as I am leaving after the lease expires. I don't have their details and also is it really the previous owners responsiblity? Can someone just change ownership of a location and give up any liabilities like that but still collect rent?
I checked my lease and it doesn't have any clauses for change of ownership. This is in Seattle WA.
A: No. The landlord is who owes you the security deposit back, not the previous renter.
In Seattle, WA, when a commercial property changes ownership, the responsibility for returning a tenant's security deposit can depend on the terms of the sale and the lease agreement. Generally, the new owner assumes the obligations of the previous owner, including the responsibility for returning security deposits.
If your lease does not have specific clauses addressing a change in ownership, it's typically assumed that the new landlord inherits the responsibilities of the previous one. This means your current landlord may be responsible for returning your security deposit, even if it was originally paid to the previous owners.
Since the previous owners have declared bankruptcy, it complicates the situation. However, the obligation to return the deposit usually transfers with the property during a sale. It's not standard for a new owner to collect rent without assuming associated liabilities like security deposits.
Given the specifics of your situation and the lack of clarity in your lease about this issue, you might consider seeking legal advice to understand your rights. A professional can offer guidance on how to approach your landlord and potentially recover your security deposit under Washington law.
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