Can I take legal action when the landlord refuse to give is back last month and deposit back?

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Can I take legal action when the landlord refuse to give is back last month and deposit back?

Hi, my lease has been over for a while now. Three months go I decided to pay for the next three months in full so the landlord already has those 3 month payments. Since, I’m starting school earlier than expected I contacted him 30 days before and told him that I will be moving 1 month earlier and that I want the last month money back and our deposit. He agreed through the phone and now one phone is up and he is avoiding my phone call. Can I take legal action against him to get our last month and deposit back?

Asked on June 1, 2009 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Now that your lease is up you are a month to month tenant.  A security deposit is held in case there is damage to the apartment either during your tenancy or upon your leaving. Repairs are deducted from the security before the balance is returned. 

Based upon the information in your question you should be able to gain back the months rent if you gave the landlord sufficient notice of vacating the premises, sufficient time to re-rent the apartment, etc.  Send your landlord a letter by certified mail confirming what you spoke about and that you are leaving earlier, would like return of the last months rent, etc.   Make sure that when you leave the apartment it is "broom clean".  You should take pictures.  You can also ask the landlord to do a walk through with you before you turn over the keys.  Have a witness there with you.  You could also ask him to sign something that indicates your apartment was left in good condition.  Landlord-Tenant Courts can be a nightmare.  If your letter does not open communications with the landlord to obtain your money try small claims court instead.   


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