If I do not submit a demand letter to the Landlord for my security deposit do i forfeit the opportunity to do so (Colorado).
Landlord wanted to keep a portion of my deposit for utilities she never billed me for but now is. She did not submit a statement to me within 30 days of her taking over the premise. After 44 days she told me to pick up my deposit check and kept over 200.00. I did not write her a demand letter within 7 days after the 30 days she was to provide me with her statement. Because I did not submit a demand letter, did I forfeit my chance to do that or can I still provide this? Her calculations were wrong and I have the information to prove that.
No, you have not lost your right to pursue the missing $200. The Colorado statute requires that a tenant who intends to sue provide written notice of the intent to sue 7 days before filing suit. This 7 day notice does not have a time limit and need not precede partial repayment of the security deposit. Once the Landlord misses the 30 day notice deadline (or 60 days if the lease provides for 60 days) then the Landlord can't fix that error by giving late explanation and refuding part of the deposit.
So, at this point, you can provide the notice and then wait the 7 days and file your claim in either Small Claims or County Court. Small Claims gets you a moon lighting lawyer for a judge and County Court gets you a real judge.
It might be a good idea to attach a copy of the statute with your demand letter to try and persuade the Landlord not to fight the additional refund. Finally, remember that judges don't like forfeiture. Therefore if the Landlord really can prove damages then in spite of the statute the judge may well let the Landlord keep some amount of the deposit.
Good Luck, jim
The relevant part of the statute: § 38-12-103. Return of security deposit (1) A landlord shall, within one month after the termination of a lease or surrender and acceptance of the premises, whichever occurs last, return to the tenant the full security deposit deposited with the landlord by the tenant, unless the lease agreement specifies a longer period of time, but not to exceed sixty days. No security deposit shall be retained to cover normal wear and tear. In the event that actual cause exists for retaining any portion of the security deposit, the landlord shall provide the tenant with a written statement listing the exact reasons for the retention of any portion of the security deposit. When the statement is delivered, it shall be accompanied by payment of the difference between any sum deposited and the amount retained. The landlord is deemed to have complied with this section by mailing said statement and any payment required to the last known address of the tenant. Nothing in this section shall preclude the landlord from retaining the security deposit for nonpayment of rent, abandonment of the premises, or nonpayment of utility charges, repair work, or cleaning contracted for by the tenant.
(2) The failure of a landlord to provide a written statement within the required time specified in subsection (1) of this section shall work a forfeiture of all his rights to withhold any portion of the security deposit under this section.
(3)(a) The willful retention of a security deposit in violation of this section shall render a landlord liable for treble the amount of that portion of the security deposit wrongfully withheld from the tenant, together with reasonable attorneys' fees and court costs; except that the tenant has the obligation to give notice to the landlord of his intention to file legal proceedings a minimum of seven days prior to filing said action.
(b) In any court action brought by a tenant under this section, the landlord shall bear the burden of proving that his withholding of the security deposit or any portion of it was not wrongful.