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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 27692
Experience:  Attorney
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My roommates father () is coming after me $600 security

Customer Question

My roommates father (Rich) is coming after me for a $600 security deposit that he made out for his son (Rob, my roommate) via his son in law (check written by brother-in-law Ryan.) The check was made out to me (Dan) with a memo that it was intended ("for Rob's first month rent/security deposit"). My roommate has since used that security deposit in lieu of rent (I made him sign a special note indicating that such transaction occurred.) His father is pursuing legal routes to retrieve his money. I personally did not know that his father was involved in this agreement until eight months of living together. I am primary lease holder and there is an informal addendum to the lease for Rob which indicates a $600/month rental and $600 security deposit. Am I in the wrong and will I eventually owe Rich this $600 security deposit in spite of mine and Robs agreement?
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 8 months ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

No, you're not wrong. If Rich is not a party to the lease (and it sounds like he isn't), the money he gave you is a $600 gift to his son. That transaction is between them and has nothing to do with you. Pennsylvania law requires that, when a tenant moves, the security deposit be returned to the tenant - not to a third party. If you actually DID give the money to Rich at the end of the lease, Rob could sue you for violation of the security deposit statutes, because Rob is the tenant and he is entitled to a refund. You cannot be forced to become a party to a transaction you didn't know about when it was made.

Also, if you're still living with Rob, he (and by extension, his father) would never have the right to demand his security deposit back. It's OK to agree to use it toward rent, but a tenant can't just arbitrarily insist on getting their deposit back before they've moved out.

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