Seattle, WA asked in Bankruptcy and Landlord - Tenant for Washington

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.

Related Topics:
2 Lawyer Answers
Timothy Denison
Timothy Denison
  • Bankruptcy Lawyer
  • Louisville, KY

A: No. The landlord is who owes you the security deposit back, not the previous renter.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: 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.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.