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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 30167
Experience:  JA Mentor
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My property manager returned the security deposit and pet

Customer Question

My property manager returned the security deposit and pet deposit in full on the day my tenants moved into another apartment 2 houses away under the same property manager. When I inquired about the state of my home, which the tenants moved out of, I was told that the property manager decided to return all deposits in full, claiming that the home was left in good shape. Three weeks later, my listing realtor tells me I need to have the wall holes from pictures repaired, the entire inside of the house repainted, and the heavily soiled carpets professionally cleaned. In addition, neighbors in the development tell me my landscaping is now an eyesore, and my landscaper estimates $500 for this. Finally, I received a bill from Lynchburg Water for $54.05 that these tenants did not pay. My question is: Is the property manager liable to pay for the indoor and outdoor repairs, and for the water bill, since she lied about the state of my home, and gave the deposits back?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 2 years ago.

My name is ***** ***** I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.
You can actually sue the tenants for the costs of repairing the home plus the water bill. A refund of a deposit is NOT a waiver of all rights to sue if you later discover problems with a property. There are various reasons a landlord will return a deposit and then sue later (especially for things like unpaid utilities, which you don't always know about).
The property manager would usually only be liable if you had some evidence that she was in cahoots with the tenant to fraudulently deprive you of the security deposit money, or if you'd told her NOT to return the deposit and she exceeded her authority as your agent in doing so. If she viewed the property and saw that the place was a mess before returning the deposit in full, that might be a basis for suing the agent in addition to the tenant. You're allowed to file one suit against both.
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