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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 100991
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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A former landlord( private home) elderly parents refuses to

Customer Question

A former landlord( private home) for my elderly parents refuses to give back remainder of their deposit. The landlord has give falsified bills to me ( I'm the daughter and guardian for my mother) my father passed away January of this year. I have pictures from the day of walk thru showing the excellent condition the house was left in. The landlord even told us the house looked great and thanked my parents for being such great tenants. The original lease was not signed by my parents as they were still in Florida . My husband was here and the landlord wanted him to sign for them. My husband did not have temp.poa. Last summer my father felt uneasy without new lease with his signature. I called the landlord, she refuse said not to worry she was not going to raise the rent or through my parents out. What can I do? Letters have been sent back and forth by certified mail. The last one I stated that this was the last letter and she had 15 consecutive days to send the money to my mother. The 18 th of May was fifteen days and so far no letters, check or phone call.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ely replied 9 months ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms. I am sorry to hear about this situation. The answer is actually pretty simple - one has to sue in small claims court. The deposit can only be withheld for: 1) unpaid rent, or2) damage to the property beyond normal wear and tear, and3) anything else the contract states. However even if the deposit is withheld for #2, the costs must be actual and reasonable. If the landlord withholds the deposit, it is presumed to be proper unless the ex-tenant challenges him. However the only way to challenge this is to file in small claims court - that is the mechanism that exists to get the landlord to give back some/all of the deposit, if the Judge finds that he withheld it wrongly. The letters are ways to communicate and/or threaten to sue unless the deposit is returned, but if the landlord chooses not to return it, then a small claims court suit is necessary. So this is what they would have to do. Let me know if you need more information on how to file one. I hope this helps and clarifies. Please use the SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting, or please RATE when finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of TOP THREE FACES/STARS and then SUBMIT, as this is how experts get credit for our time. Rating my answer the bottom two faces/stars (or failing to submit the rating) does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith with a positive rating.