Can I deduct damage to the apartment from the security deposit?
According to Arizona law, landlords must refund either all of the security deposit or the remainder of the security deposit after taking deductions within fourteen business days after termination of tenancy. If deductions are taken, the landlord must also provide a written itemized list. A.R.S. § 33-1321(D).
If the landlord fails to comply, then the tenant can receive damages in an amount equal to twice the amount wrongfully withheld. A.R.S. § 33-1321(E). Landlords must also give written notification that the tenant may be present during the move-out inspection that will be used to determine itemized deductions from the deposit. A.R.S. § 33-1321(C). However, the landlord does not have to meet this requirement if he or she is evicting the tenant for a material and irreparable breach and he or she has reasonable cause to fear violence or intimidation by the tenant. A.R.S. § 33-1321(C).
If damage has occurred to the unit during occupancy (beyond reasonable wear and tear), then the landlord should document those items in order to justify the deduction from the security deposit.
Any unresolved disputes over security deposits are brought to the small claims court.