What to do if I still haven’t gotten my security deposit back from my landlord?

UPDATED: Aug 3, 2011

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What to do if I still haven’t gotten my security deposit back from my landlord?

I got the okay to break my lease about 2 months ago for the end of the month. Last month I asked if everything was alright and if I was getting my deposit back. My landlord replied with, “Yes but I haven’t mailed it yet”. I waited and texted her again about a week later asking if she happened to have sent it out yet. She replied with, “Not yet. I have 30 days to do so”. Alright fine. Come the first of this month and I asked again, “Did you send that check out?” She says the put it in the mail a few days before. She is 20 minutes away and I stillhave not received it. I’m not sure what else to do? Can’t she get in trouble for that?

Asked on August 3, 2011 Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

It is against the law to keep a security deposit at the end of tenancy unless 1) there are damages, done by the tenant and/or his family, guests, etc. to be paid for; or 2) there was rent due and unpaid. If you believe the landlord has improperly kept your security deposit, you can sue her for its return andn may be able to seek additional compensation or damages, too. Note that since you broke your lease early, in the absence of an agreement to the landlord to let you do so, you would be in default of 2 months rent and the landlord could clearly keep your security deposit for it. If your agreement with the landlord--the "ok" to break the lease--was oral or verbal, not written, it may be difficult to prove if the landlord now remembers it differently than you.

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