Can we pursue legal action against our landlord? We live in Texas

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Can we pursue legal action against our landlord? We live in Texas

I need advice regarding a landlord who deducted expenses from my deposit that
are beyond normal wear and tear. We paid him 2 months rent plus a pet deposit.
The total we paid was 5400. We received the check he sent for 1788 a day past
the 30 days he was supposed to. An example of what he spent was 1100 on
landscaping and deducted 580 from our deposit. There are many other expenses
he deducted that are not normal wear and tear. The check had paid in full
written on it. While we did not want to cash it we had no choice. Our rent at
our current place was past due and we were facing eviction. I did cross out
paid in full and wrote partial payment/ all rights reserved on it. My question
is do we have any chance of fighting this in court? I know that the law states
that if a person retains a security deposit in bad faith they are liable for an
amount equal to 100, three times the amount of the deposit wrongfully
withheld, and attorney fees and court costs.

Asked on June 7, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

First, don't worry: it is a myth that writing "paid in full" on a check means that you give up any/all claims for more money; the person writing the check putting "paid in full" on it has zero legal effect.
Second, yes--if the landlord deducts for anything other than normal wear and tear (like landscaping, unless it was to repair damage you did to the landscaping), the tenant can sue for the wrongly withheld money plus, as applicable, the additional damages or compensation provided for by law.


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