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KimberlyLaw
KimberlyLaw, Attorney and Real Estate Broker
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 4198
Experience:  13 years of real estate experience including foreclosures, landlord tenant matters, residential sales and condo/coop matters.
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Can a landlord keep your security deposit?

Customer Question

Can a landlord keep your security deposit?
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  KimberlyLaw replied 8 months ago.
Hello, I am happy to assist you today. No, the landlord can not just keep the security deposit. There are very limited circumstances where the landlord could keep it. In the letter the landlord hopefully told you what money he claims is owed, and why. If you do not agree that you owe that money, then you need to write him a letter explaining that. The only reasons a landlord can keep the security would be if you caused some sort of damage to the property, like stains on the rug, or something that was not considered regular wear and tear. I hope this helps,Kim
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
The apartment was in excellent shape, I paid my rent on time for the six years that I lived there.
The manager tried to sabotage my getting a senior apartment by putting the rent verification form that I had been 2 months behind in my rent in 2013 and that I had received 2 summons to appear in court. In all my years of renting I have never been behind in my rent nor have I ever been summoned to appear in court. When I confronted her about it they retracted it and called the senior building asst. manager and told him they had made a mistake. I just want my money how do I get my money?
Expert:  KimberlyLaw replied 8 months ago.
Wow, what a crazy story. It's always amazing to me when I witness such corruption. You didn't specifically say it, but it sounds like the letter said that you were 2 months behind on rent. This is a result of the former "mistake"? If that is the case, you obviously were successful getting them to correct this before, so hopefully with a phone call or letter you can get this resolved. If not, you need to send in a serious letter by certified mail, return receipt, recounting the story you just told me, declaring that you owe no money, and demanding your security deposit back. Give them a deadline to send the check to you, and then if that doesn't happen you will need to file a small claims action in court. It doesn't cost much at all, and you don't need a lawyer, so it should go pretty smoothly. Especially if they are claiming that you had summonses against you, which the court can verify itself never happened. Unfortunately, that's the course of action, but the courts are set up to handle this type of case quite quickly and easily, so it shouldn't be too bad. Kim