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MDLawyer, Lawyer
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 6135
Experience:  10 years in legal practice. Over 5 years in advising clients on landlord/tenant issues, including on a pro bono basis.
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Attn experts: expert only- plz transfer this question to her

Customer Question

Attn experts: FOR MDLAW expert only- plz transfer this question to her if you're not her.Hi there, again; updateMaria informed me to come on Saturday back home between 10 Am and 11 Am to give her her money back. I was a way for work for a week, so I said I will come home to meet her then. She had already moved all of her belongings the day before, according to my 3d roommate, Ethan. She insisted I come home as she supposedly have had too many suitcases to meet me outside. But when the time came for her to give me the keys back, she only had one suitcase. She put all five copies of the keys on the table we were sitting across. I explained to her that I had checked my contract and that I will give her $800 for the remainder of March, but that I will see her at the court regarding the deposit return $1200 which she had previously threatened to me about weeks ago stating the contract is invalid. The moment I told her about seeing her in the court about the deposit, she had jumped on the keys on the table and had grabbed one, and she then immediately ran back to her room, stating "I'm not moving out! I'm not moving out! As neither one of us wanted her in my place, I offered to pay her anyway just so see her go. I gave her one check for $800. The other one for $1200 I made to a future date, March 22, and I wanted to give her that after she gives me the key back and steps out of my apartment, She refused to take the second check outside of my apt and had refused to give me the key back. After some non-violent verbal insistence on both sides, at the door, she ran into 3d roommate's room to ask him to exchange the key and the check for us. I had him give me the key, and give her the check once he took her downstairs to the lobby of the building. I've put the stop payment on that check few hours later but it's possible she was able to cash it regardless, as I didn't know the banks don't honor postdated checks much apparently.My question can I sue Maria for forcing me to give her the deposit check, by refusing the leave and return the key, despite her obvious intention to move out. I also have the statement she had previously added to in her writing that she will not move out unless she is paid both the March remainder and the deposit back. I feel ransomed by her, and I feel she's done this before as her level of preparedness far exceeded my expectation. I was truly shocked to see that she had a full intent to be a squatter. In either case she had moved her self out. I want to know can sue her for intent to squat if there is such a thing, or can I sue her for forcing me to make her a check, just so she would leave, when she said she would've but then changed her mind the instant I had confronted her about the deposit.???
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  MDLawyer replied 1 year ago.

On what basis do you wish to sue her? What damages would you be trying to recover? Also, was there a reason you threatened her with a lawsuit knowing how volatile the situation already was?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I did not threaten her. I just stated that I was ready to meet her at the court abt deposit check. How is that a threat? In fact she invited me to a long eviction process 3 weeks ago when she threatened w it. I wished you advised me to give her a notice before her 30 days was over, why didn't you? After she made it over 30 days she knew she had eviction on her side and she surely played up to it. Do u really not see that from her running to her room, after grabbing the key she just returned of the table so she can continue to hold to her evictee wanna-be position? Except she had already moved all her stuff the day before. Do u really not see this?The issue here is that she has been using the renter protection laws in order to tempt the eviction etc- which she had failed on. The issue is she is a threat to any landlord and Im suspecting she is a serial squater. What do u think abt her 3 week notice of leave that quickly changes into "im not moving"- once confronted w her own suggestuons to go through the lawyers regarding the deposit- does that not look like a case of squatter wannabe to you?I want her name associated w scaming and i have evidence and a witness of her manipulative behaviour to pull of the victom evictee scam, when in fact she had terminated tge leaae early, she had signed tge lease that states i keep the deposit if she terminates early, she had given the 3week notice, she had than demanded and nade it a condition tge deposit be returnes in order for her to move out, and finally she refused to move out without that check. I want her sued for scamming, or for forcing me to write her a deposit check under the threat of eviction. Where are my rights? Do everythinh by the book and what let the scammers rule? Any suggestions? If she got lucky w some teller who cashed a post dated check on Saturday I would sue for that, if not Id still sue her as a scammer and provocator... help
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Expert:  MDLawyer replied 1 year ago.

She had already given you notice. There was no reason for you to give her notice. It would not have changed anything. You seem to be stuck on that issue. Your giving her notice after she gave you notice would not have changed the contract. I don't know what you mean by "eviction on her side". An eviction would have hurt her not helped her. You cannot sue her for not leaving when she did in fact leave. I understand that you are frustrated about how everything went down but she did not violate any laws and she has now moved out. She did not force you to write a check. You did not have to write the check. I'm not sure what other information you need.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi againLet me clarify, I did not give her a notice - as you advised.
On the day when she was leaving, I gave her the check for March remainder, for $800. And I told her I'd see her at the court for deposit return. She violated the law in forcing me to write her a deposit check anyway, by physically refusing to move out of the apartment after I told her about seeing her in the court for deposit check. She ran back to her room instead, stole back the apt door key she just returned and yelled, "I'm not moving!", after assuring me for 3 weeks that she was moving out. Luckily I was able to stop payment on the deposit check she forced me to give her by refusing to step out of my apartment physically before she was given a deposit check as well by a 3d roommate who had mediated the apt key and the check exchange.My intent is to sue her for
1. manipulation - threatening to me earlier about not leaving without the deposit check being returned while counting the days down of her 3 week notice of leave;
2. threatening with the long eviction process, courts and her uncle lawyer,
3. for refusing to leave the apt after she returned the key and was given a March check back
4. for stealing the key she just returned after being told she would get the deposit if we go through the courts.
5. for attempting to cash the deposit check she forced out of me anyway by abusing my civilized approach of not forcing her physically out after she had returned the apt key and was given her March check;
5. for disrespecting the contract;
6. For changing her stance from "I'm moving on the 12th" to "I'm moving on the 12th and you're paying me back March and Deposit or I'll take you through the eviction drag", to "I'm not moving without the deposit" on the day she said she would move out.
You said in this country people can sue for anything - so I'm asking you what can be worked out of this? This girl takes no responsibility for entering into a contract, and assumes full right in threatening landlord with the eviction process unless her crazy conditions are met, as if she is the judge. I don't know what gives her a power to deem contracts invalid and to then assume it's acceptable to change her mind till the last minute about whether she is moving out or not, as if that is open-ended, optional right for her - while she had me look for new tenants all along.
Comments please?
Expert:  MDLawyer replied 1 year ago.

Requesting that you return her deposit is not a violation of any law. People are free to request things. Since she did leave, she broke no laws. Taking back the key would not be considered theft at that point.

You are free to sue her if you really have a desire to go to court and see her again but there is no such cause of action as "manipulation." Making a threat to sue is not against the law. Since she did leave the apartment, you have no valid cause of action against her. If you wrote a post-dated check, that would put you at risk of violating the law and not her. It is not against the law to deposit a check once you receive it. Nothing that you have listed is against the law.

I think you have misunderstood what I meant when I said that people can sue anyone. What I meant is that everyone has the right to file a lawsuit but that does not mean that they have a valid lawsuit. In order to have a case that you can win, you need to have what is known as a legal cause of action. If you do not have a legal cause of action, your case will be thrown out of court and it is also against the law to file a frivolous lawsuit.

Unless I am misunderstanding, I thought that your goal was to have her move out of the house. She has now moved out of the house. I do not understand why you don't just move on. I apologize if I have missed a key fact in your post but it appears that she no longer owes you anything and you no longer owe her anything if I've read your posts correctly.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for a quick answer.
The only reason she doesn't owe me anything is because I've put the stop payment on the check.
This could've easily ended as a long dragged eviction instead.
How is it legal for her to keep changing her mind and force her self to stay in my apt against my wish, if I don't return a deposit?
What would you have advised if she would've cashed the deposit check ( if there was no stop payment feature)? To sue her then?She is an immigrant on a student visa so she has no right to work or care about the laws or the contracts, she is not on the grid really, nor she has a credit, but she sure knows how to threaten people with eviction process and free loading. How is it legal for her to refuse to move out after she gave a verbal notice of moving 3 weeks prior?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
You wrote:
Requesting that you return her deposit is not a violation of any law. People are free to request things. Since she did leave, she broke no laws. Taking back the key would not be considered theft at that point.Let me reply in detail:Requesting that you return her deposit is not a violation of any law.
- Agreed, but requesting the return of deposit when it is written in the contract that she doesn't keep it if she cuts the term short AND refusing to leave on the date on which she announced 3 weeks ago she WOULD leave - seems like a stretch, no?People are free to request things. Since she did leave, she broke no laws.
-She only left because she forced me to write her a check against my wish and my right to go by the contract, by physically refusing to leave the apt. on the day on which she had announced she would be moving out - how is this not breaking the law?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I requested her to leave but she refused. I requested her to leave without the deposit and she took back the key and moved back in for 2 more minutes to her room. How is it ok that my requests get overlooked by her time after a time and in addition I can't force her out, can't take her key, or lock her out or anything - do you not see that I had nothing left but to right her the check I didn't want to or have her move back in forcefully, despite her 3 week notice of leave???
Expert:  MDLawyer replied 1 year ago.

Unfortunately, retreating to a room in the apartment for 2 minutes is not considered to be a violation of the law since she had not officially moved out yet and was inside the apartment. On the other hand, changing the locks or evicting someone without going to court is illegal. I honestly don't think that she was going to unpack her things and move back in. She was simply bluffing and was hoping to get a reaction out of you and it apparently worked this time around.

Please remember that I can only tell you what the laws are or aren't. I cannot give you advice and I do not make the laws. Best thing to do in this situation is to move on. I've had my share of roommate issues over the years and it's never fun and can be costly and so I can totally understand your frustration but the best thing to do here is to just move on and be glad that she moved out and hope that you never have to see her again.