It is likely that at one time or another in your life, you have had a terrible landlord. Whether it  was a landlord who would not fix anything when it broke on its own, or one who was constantly stopping by to check in on you, it’s people like this who cause many of us to move past renting and toward buying. Working in real estate law, we hear plenty of horror stories coming from tenants regarding a landlord who simply isn’t doing their job. However, there are also other situations that seem to pop up more often than others.

What About The Deposit?

As real estate lawyers, one of the most common situations we deal with is a landlord that will not return a security deposit to a previous tenant. If you aren’t familiar, a security deposit is a set amount determined by the landlord that is meant to cover any potential damage that may occur to the property while a tenant occupies it. If there is no damage, the landlord will then return the security deposit to the tenant. However, should there be damage, the landlord will either return a portion of the initial deposit amount or none of it, depending on how much money was needed to fix whatever was broken.These deposits can also be used to cover unpaid rent in certain cases.

Can’t Get Your Security Deposit Back?

When a landlord will not return a security deposit, it’s important as the tenant to first be honest with yourself. Is the property is worse shape now that you have moved out than it was when you moved in? If not, then you may have a case to make.

In most situations, a landlord will send the tenant a claim at their forwarding address when they choose to use the deposit for repairing damages. We often get calls from tenants who say that their landlord has not done so and yet they have not been returned their deposit money yet. In cases like this, we often first will recommend that the tenant write a demand letter that they can send to the landlord asking for their money back. This way they can at least attempt to resolve the entire situation rather than having to file a lawsuit. A demand letter normally will just notify the landlord that they have a certain amount of time to pay the money to their past tenant and that if they do not, they may be taken to court.

When They Still Won’t Pay

In the case that there is no response to the demand letter, or if the landlord flat out refuses to pay, the case will be taken to court. In most states, the person who wins the lawsuit will not have to pay their legal fees and instead the losing party will have to take care of those costs for lawyers that were used.

Need A Real Estate Lawyer?

If your landlord will not return your security deposit and you think you are entitled to the money you initially paid, call us today at Pavithran Law Office to find out how we can help you! We may be able to keep you out of court and if not, we will find tooth and nail to get your money back for you.

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