What can I do if my landlord refuses to give me my security deposit back?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What can I do if my landlord refuses to give me my security deposit back?

I have lived in an apartment and the landlord refused to give me back my security deposit. I have texts of me asking him to look at the apartment before I actually moved and he refused to acknowledge any texts that

was sent to him. I finally got in touch with him 3 months later and he said that he won’t refund my security deposit. I don’t know what to do. I have pictures and texts to prove that I was trying to get in touch with him and to receive my security deposit back.

Asked on February 4, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Georgia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You would have to sue him for the money: while a landlord has a legal obligation to return a deposit, less only any unpaid rent, if any (which they can take out of the deposit), or any costs for damage, etc. exceeding normal "wear and tear," unfortunately, the only way to enforce your rights if the deposit is not returned is by a lawsuit. You'd have to sue where the rental property is, and you'd have to return for the trial, even if you have an attorney (since your attorney cannot testify about the facts in the case--if you did not appear for the trial, you'd have no evidence for your position). Therefore, if you are now in a different state, it might not be cost-effective to sue.

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