My question involves a security deposit in the State of: Washington
I've got a rather convoluted issue, or so it at least seems that way to me.
Back in the beginning of November, my landlord informed me that I would need to move out as they were also moving as well. I was renting a room in their house at the time, and understood that this was the beginning of the 30-day notice with which I had to move out by. My landlord informed me that I was to pay a pro-rated final rent for the day's I stayed, totaling $13/day. I ended up finding a new place on Nov. 19th, and moving in on the 20th.
Before I left, I provided the Landlord with a forwarding address with which to return my deposit to me, as well as made an attempt to clean up the premise, however the landlord informed me not to worry about cleaning up the premise, they would take care of it themselves (since they were apparently renting the house from a landlord as well.)
It has been well over three months now since I have moved out of there, and only recently have I been able to get in contact with my previous landlord. I requested my Security Deposit back, in full via email. My landlord stated that I did not pay my last month's, pro-rated rent and that I owed that to them. Since my landlord had already vacated the premise by the time I moved out, I was unable to deliver them my last month's rent in person, instead I left it in the premise in an envelope to them labeled as "RENT," I assumed this would be a safe place to leave it as they did not provide me with an address where I might send them the rent. The landlord claims that they never found the envelope, and that I never returned the key as well.
Now, I did a bit of researching about Washington State Landlord-Tenant laws, and from what I understand:
First, when I moved in, the landlord never provided me with the checklist of damages for the area I was renting, which from what I read in RCW 59.18.260, means that they were not allowed to legally collect a security deposit from me.
Second, after I paid my deposit, the landlord never informed me where the deposit was being kept as per RCW 59.18.270.
Thirdly, and probably the most important part, as per RCW 59.18.280, the landlord had 14 days with which they were to provide me with an itemized list of charges and damages to which money would be deducted from my deposit to my forwarding address. No such list ever arrived at the forwarding address, as well, no deposit was ever returned. By that same law, if the landlord did not provide me with either in the 14 day period, they waived any and all right they had to any portion of my security deposit, and that they owe me my full deposit.
I informed my landlord of all these laws, and yet she has refused to return my deposit, I provided her with a deadline as well as the option of mediation and arbitration.
I understand I am able to file a claim with the Washington State small claims court, however I was hoping for a bit of advice regarding this issue and a little clarification on Arbitration, as that sounds to me like the best method in this case.