What is the law regarding the 30 days a landlord has to refund a security deposit?
The law usually interprets such deadlines by the date you deposit the mail with the post-office, not when you receive it, because the person has no control over how long the postal service takes to deliver a letter. It’s called the “mailbox rule” in legalese. The statute requires the landlord to deliver the deposit within 30 days, not for the tenant to receive it within 30 days, so placing it the mailbox within 30 days should comply with the statute.
The mail box rule is a judge made legal doctine of contract law that finds the acceptance of an offer is made as of the time the acceptance is placed in a mail box, as long as mailing an accepting reply is a reasonable form of acceptance. The acceptance is effective at the time of sending. However, the mail box rule does not apply to revocations of an acceptance, which are only effective when received.
In order for the mailbox rule to apply, the acceptance must be dispatched within the time in which the offer must be accepted, and will not apply if the offer requires acceptance by personal delivery on or before the specified date. The mailbox rule is sometimes also applied in situations involving payment of insurance premiums.
The following is a NC statute:
§ 42-52. Landlord's obligations.
Upon termination of the tenancy, money held by the landlord as security
may be applied as permitted in G.S. 42-51 or, if not so applied, shall be
refunded to the tenant. In either case the landlord in writing shall
itemize any damage and mail or deliver same to the tenant, together with
the balance of the security deposit, no later than 30 days after
termination of the tenancy and delivery of possession by the tenant. If
the tenant's address is unknown the landlord shall apply the deposit as
permitted in G.S. 42-51 after a period of 30 days and the landlord shall
hold the balance of the deposit for collection by the tenant for at least
six months. The landlord may not withhold as damages part of the security
deposit for conditions that are due to normal wear and tear nor may the
landlord retain an amount from the security deposit which exceeds his