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my ex landlord has not returned my deposit for three months,

Customer Question
when i finally called to...
my ex landlord has not returned my deposit for three months, when i finally called to inquire about it as it is supposed to take no longer than 45 days, i was told then that i have an outstanding balance of unpaid rents for some extra days i spend after my lease ended. I told them i could bring checks cached by their office to prove i have paid for the extra days, then they came back saying i was right about that, but i still owe some money for stained carpet, which is is also false because my carpet was still looking like new due to how good i took care to keep it clean. Now it is clear the rental office is trying to ripp me off, and all this time they have never called or send me any bills, but when i called to ask about my deposit three months later they are telling me these lies and want me to pay more than what they owe me. Today i received a call for a collection agency with threats that the issue is going on my credit, but i am still waiting to receive any notice from landlord stating why my deposit was held and explaining how much i owe.
i am seriously considering taking the landlord to court, what's your expert legal advice on this?
Submitted: 6 years ago.Category: Landlord-Tenant
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Answered in 4 minutes by:
3/6/2012
Lawyer: sjanda, Arbitrator replied 6 years ago
sjanda
sjanda, Arbitrator
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 13,441
Experience: Attorney
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Thank you for contacting JustAnswer.com with your question. I will provide legal information related to your question.

 

Yes you need to sue the landlord for failing to return the deposit or send an itemized statement of what they deducted from the deposit in the required time frame.

 

Here is the MD law:

The landlord must return a tenant's security deposit plus interest, less any damages rightfully withheld, within 45 days after the tenancy ends. If the landlord fails to do this without a good reason, you may sue for up to three times the withheld amount, plus reasonable attorney's fees.

§ 8-203 If the landlord withholds any part of your security deposit, he or she must send you a written list of damages, with a statement of what it actually cost to repair the damages, by first-class mail to your last known address within 45 days after you move out. If the landlord fails do this, he or she loses the right to withhold any part of the security deposit.

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Customer reply replied 6 years ago

wow, are you saying that failing to contact me within 45days, the landlord loses the right to claim damages?

 

Will the fact that i was berbally told about the oustanding balance on the phone after the 45 days timeframe work against me?

 

How can i legally prove that this conversation took place after the 45 days time frame?

Shouldn't the landlord have to prove that they have mailed the bill to me

Lawyer: sjanda, Arbitrator replied 6 years ago
Yes if they failed to follow the law they lose their right to keep any money. No because that was after 45 days. Yes the landlord has the burden of proof but you have to sue them to get the suit started and get your deposit plus your damages since they will have not have certified mail to prove they sent you the letter within the 45 days.
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago

i am trying to understand if the phone conversation will matter at all in case they claim that it took place within 45 days?

or they are required to mail me the letter explaining the damages in any case

Lawyer: sjanda, Arbitrator replied 6 years ago
No the phone conversation has no bearing since it occurred outside the 45 days. If they try to claim they called you in the 45 days that does not matter either since they have to give written notice.
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago

please bear with me as i want to make sure i get this.

 

putting everything you said together, if i sue them i don't have to prove anything, but they will need to prove that they have sent me a letter, and they can only do this if sent by certified mail. But what about the fact that the law allow them to contact me trough first class mail? can't they just claim that they followed the lay by mailing a first class mail?

 

Lawyer: sjanda, Arbitrator replied 6 years ago
To sue them all you have to do is show that you moved out on x date, you gave the landlord your new address, and that you have not received a return on the deposit or an itemized statement. Then the landlord has to prove they did mail it within in 45 days. If they sent it regular first class mail then there is no way for them to prove they mailed it so it really depends on if they mailed it and it was returned to them or if you did not give a good address or did not get your mail forwarded.
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago

so if they claim they have sent me a letter by regular mail as allowed by law, i will still have a strong case against them?

 

It is advised to first try resolving issues before going to the small claim court, it is obvious that will not work in this case as both sides (landlord and me) have stood our grounds, should i send them a letter anyway as an attempt to resolve this before going to court or should i just go straight to court?

 

what can i do about the phone call i received today treahning to put this outstanding balance on my credit?

Lawyer: sjanda, Arbitrator replied 6 years ago
Yes they have to show that it was sent, their verbal testimony is not enough if you did not get it. You can send them the letter first so you can see if they respond by saying that they did send a letter because it sounds like so far they have not made that claim to you. Then you know what they could claim at court or if in their letter they do not say they sent the notice, you can use their letter against them. As far as the collection company you can send them a letter to dispute the debt, go to Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, this will tell you how to dispute and how to get them to stop calling. But until you get a judgment showing that you do not owe the money they can put it on your credit report. If they do you can file a dispute with the credit bureau.
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago

great, one last question, does this site provide a way that allows me to send our discussion to my email so i can work with the advise you provided?

Lawyer: sjanda, Arbitrator replied 6 years ago

I do not think so but you can print the page.

sjanda
sjanda, Arbitrator
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 13,441
Experience: Attorney
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago

Thanks for you help.

 

Lawyer: sjanda, Arbitrator replied 6 years ago
You are welcome.
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