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My Mom passed away in December. Her landlord still has not…

My Mom passed away...

My Mom passed away in December. Her landlord still has not returned the security deposit. I can't find a copy of her lease or a cleared check for the deposit but I know it was paid. Do I need that to take him to court?

Lawyer's Assistant: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state the property is in?

MN

Lawyer's Assistant: What are the terms of the lease? Any issues related to maintenance or upkeep?

I have not found a copy of the lease in her records. The landlord is stating some damage to the property, but he never gave me a list or talked to me about it. It's now 5 months later.

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Answered in 5 minutes by:
4/21/2018
Loren
Loren, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 39,312
Experience: 30 years experience representing clients.
Verified

Thank you for using JA. I am Loren, a licensed attorney for over 30 yrs., and I am here to help.

I am a certified expert on JustAnswer since 2009, with nearly 100% in satisfied customer ratings. So, we should be able to work through your problem.

I appreciate your patience as I review your question. I will post my response shortly.

This is general information and no attorney client relationship is established.

The site may ask you if you wish to speak by phone for an extra charge. Many find the phone call to be the easiest and fastest way to get the information they need without posting on a public forum. I am also happy to continue online.

There may be a slight delay in my replies as I am assisting other JA customers also. I will reply to your follow up questions.

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My condolences for your loss.

Is there an estate opened in probate?

Was notice given to terminate the lease and pay the last 2 months rent (notice period) required under the MN statutes?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
No Estate.Yes a written notice was given. Part of the problem is the landlord had a sick son and was not available or reachable for weeks at a time. My mom's friend, Jami, loved my mom an my mom's apartment. She was interested in living in my mom's apartment but thought she could help Patrick out too by offering to be a property manager for him while he was tending to his sick son - in exchange for rent. Patrick and Jami had verbal communications and agreement about this so I left my mom's things in anticipation that Jami would move in. She did not want to actually start staying there until they had a written agreement. She tried to reach him by calling and going to his office during December and January. He would never respond. Towards the end of January, I decided I couldn't stand the unknown anymore so I moved all my mom's belongings out by the end of January. I had not paid rent December and January because technically my mom was not living there and I only left the stuff in anticipation of Jami moving in.
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I handed the keys over when I moved my mom's stuff out at the end of January. The apartment was cleaned by the woman he has clean apartments. He never gave me a list of any damages or expenses that he was going to deduct from the security deposit. He still has not returned any of the deposit.

Thank you for the additional information.

You will need to open the estate to sue.

If the security deposit was not returned in time and no communication was received from the landlord then the landlord is prohibited from keeping it, or any portion.

The landlord may only retain any portion of the security deposit for unpaid rent and damages in excess of reasonable wear and tear.

If the landlord has deducted any portion for a reason not applicable to either, or not followed the required procedure for retaining the deposit, then your remedy is to sue them in small claims court for the return of the unlawful deductions.

Small claims court is designed to be a "user friendly", simplified process, so that you can present a claim without an attorney. Also, it moves much more quickly than regular court. You can get the necessary forms to start from the clerk of the court.

Be aware, however, that leaving your late mother's property in the apartment would entitle the landlord to rent for that period of time, but sue for the security deposit and you can likely work out a settlement or get back the entire amount.

If (and only if) you are completely satisfied that your question is answered professionally and accurately, even if not the answer you were hoping to get, please remember to leave a favorable rating (click 5 stars in the rating section on this page). It is the only way that I am credited by JustAnswer for answering your question.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
even though he agreed verbally with Jami that they could work something out for her to live there and help him- which is why I left the stuff - he could charge for the property being there?

Yes. The written lease controls. A verbal agreement can not amend a written contract.

I am sorry. I wish I could tell you otherwise, but I do not want you blindsided.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I should probably just leave it alone as it could end up costing more money than the deposit.

I do not know how much the deposit was, but if it is in the hundreds, not in the thousands, it may cost more than is at stake.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
OK thank you. It's just so disheartening!

You are very welcome.

If you have no further questions, and have not yet done so, please remember to leave a favorable rating (click 5 stars in the rating section on this page). It is the only way that I am credited by JustAnswer for answering your question.

There is no additional charge to you for rating me favorably.

A bonus is not expected, but is always appreciated.

Thank you for using JA.

Loren

Loren
Loren, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 39,312
Experience: 30 years experience representing clients.
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