A bill that would require landlords to return security deposits more quickly was advanced from select file May 21.
Currently, a tenant formally must request return of a security deposit from their landlord. LB433, sponsored by Lincoln Sen. Matt Hansen, would require landlords automatically to provide the balance due on a security deposit to a tenant within 14 days of termination of a rental agreement.
If a landlord fails to return the security deposit within 14 days, the tenant could recover any property or money due to him or her, as well as liquidated damages equal to one month’s rent plus costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.
If a government entity deems a residence to be uninhabitable due to negligence, the tenant could not be held liable for any damage as a direct result of forcible removal.
A Judiciary Committee amendment adopted on general file incorporated provisions of Hansen’s LB434, which would extend the period of time for payment of rent after a notice of intent to terminate from three to seven days.
Hansen introduced an amendment on select file that would allow a tenant to recover liquidated damages equal to one month’s rent or twice the amount of the security deposit—whichever is less—if the landlord’s failure to return the security deposit was willful and in bad faith.
The amendment also would direct landlords to remit any unclaimed security deposit to the state treasurer for disposition under the Uniform Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act if returned undeliverable or if the deposit remains outstanding 30 days after the initial mailing.
Following the 43-1 adoption of the Hansen amendment, senators advanced the bill to final reading on a voice vote.