The Alaska Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act has set forth the following laws which govern the landlord’s obligations when collecting and returning security deposits and prepaid rent:
Except as provided under the subsection Pet Deposit, a landlord may not demand or receive prepaid rent or a security deposit, however denominated, in an amount or value in excess of two months’ periodic rent. This section does not apply to rental units where the rent exceeds $2,000 a month.
Accrued Rent and Damages
Upon termination of the tenancy, property or money held by the landlord as prepaid rent or as a security deposit may be applied to the payment of accrued rent and the amount of damages that the landlord has suffered by reason of the tenant’s noncompliance with the requirements under the section Tenant Obligations. The accrued rent and damages must be itemized by the landlord in a written notice mailed to the tenant’s last known address within the time limit prescribed in the subsection Termination and Deposit Refund, together with the amount due the tenant.
In this subsection, “damages”
- Means deterioration of the premises and, if applicable, of the contents of the premises;
- Does not include deterioration that is the result of normal wear and tear or the landlord’s failure to prepare for expected conditions or by the landlord’s failure to comply with an obligation of the landlord imposed by this Act.
Note: If the landlord willfully fails to comply with this subsection, the tenant may recover an amount not to exceed twice the actual amount withheld.
Depositing the Deposit
All money paid to the landlord by the tenant as prepaid rent or as a security deposit in a lease or rental agreement shall be promptly deposited by the landlord, wherever practicable, in a trust account in a bank, savings and loan association, or licensed escrow agent, and the landlord shall provide to the tenant the terms and conditions under which the prepaid rent or security deposit or portions of them may be withheld by the landlord. Nothing in these laws prohibits the landlord from commingling prepaid rents and security deposits in a single financial account; however, the landlord shall separately account for prepaid rent and security deposits received from each tenant. The landlord may not commingle prepaid rent and security deposits with other funds. The landlord may not use money held for one tenant in a trust account to:
- Refund the security deposit of another tenant;
- Apply to the payment of another tenant’s accrued rent;
- Apply to damages suffered by the landlord because of another tenant’s noncompliance with the requirements under the section Tenant Obligations.
Termination and Deposit Refund
If the landlord or tenant gives notice that complies with the section Periodic Tenancy Termination and Holding Over termination requirements, the landlord shall mail the written notice and refund required by the subsection of Accrued Rent and Damages within 14 days after the tenancy is terminated and possession is delivered by the tenant, except the landlord shall have 30 days after the tenancy is terminated to mail the refund if costs are deducted for damages that the landlord has suffered because of the tenant’s noncompliance with the section Tenant Obligations.
If the tenant does not give notice that complies with the section Periodic Tenancy Termination and Holding Over termination requirements, the landlord shall mail the written notice and refund within 30 days after the tenancy is terminated, possession is delivered by the tenant, or the landlord becomes aware that the dwelling unit is abandoned. If the landlord does not know the mailing address of the tenant, but knows or has reason to know how to contact the tenant to give the notice required by the subsection Accrued Rent and Damages, the landlord shall make a reasonable effort to deliver the notice and refund to the tenant.
Notwithstanding the limitation on the amount of prepaid rent or security deposit in the subsection Maximum Amount, a landlord may demand or receive an additional security deposit from a tenant who has a pet on the premises that is not a service animal. The additional security deposit:
- May not exceed the periodic rent for one month; and
- Shall be accounted for separately from prepaid rent or a security deposit received under the subsection Maximum Amount and may be applied only to the amount of damages that are directly related to the pet of the tenant.
“Normal wear and tear” means deterioration that occurs from the intended use of the rental unit and without negligence, carelessness, accident, misuse, or abuse of the premises or contents by the tenant, members of the household of the tenant, or the invitees or guests of the tenant;
“Service animal” means an animal that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks that are directly related to and for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.
Article 03. Section 34.03.070.
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