Question: We rented a small furnished home in Phoenix. A burning cigarette severely damaged a sofa which was worth no more than $1,000. When the lease ended, we told the landlord that he could take $1,000 for a new sofa, but that we wanted the rest of our $2,500 security deposit back because the home was otherwise in perfect condition. The landlord said ok. One month later, however, we still have not received any communication from the landlord, who has not responded to any of our texts or emails. How can we get the remaining $1,500 of our security deposit back?
Answer: In Arizona a landlord has 14 business days after the lease has ended, and the tenant has made a “demand” for the security deposit, to send to the tenant a list of any damages and a check for any remainder of the security deposit. If the landlord does not send this 14-day notice to the tenant, the tenant is entitled to treble damages for the amount of the security deposit that should have been refunded to the tenant. Therefore, the remaining $1,500 of the security deposit owed to you should be trebled, i.e., the landlord should owe you $4,500. You should file a lawsuit for $4,500 with your local Justice Court.