Can a landlord take the cost of a repair bill out of your rent check?

UPDATED: Dec 26, 2011

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Can a landlord take the cost of a repair bill out of your rent check?

Our landlord billed us for a dryer repairperson coming to look at our dryer because there was nothing wrong with the dryer itself; the vent tubes actually needed cleaned out. We feel we aren’t responsible for the bill. After not paying it, they took it out of our rent check. So now they are saying our rent is late. We moved out at the end of last month, after giving the required 60 days notice. I provided them with our forwarding address in writing and cleaned the entire apartment. We still haven’t received our security deposit or letter about anything. How long does a landlord have to return security deposit? In PA. 

Asked on December 26, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

In all states in this country, a landlord is required to provide his former tenant with the return security deposit within 21 to 45 days of move out depending upon the laws of the particular state where the rental is. If the full amount is not returned in that time period, the landlord is still required to provide an itemization with receipts for what the security deposit was used for in the same time period.

Unless the rental agreement states otherwise, one's rent check cannot be used to debit a charge for repairs that are contested. Even if the rental agreement allows for such a debit, most likely the provision would be in violation of state law as being in violation of public policy.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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