What to do if a landlord makes wrongful deductions from a security deposit?

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What to do if a landlord makes wrongful deductions from a security deposit?

I am an international student who lived in the US until 2 months ago. When I was living in there, my friends and I rented a house. We had a lease which stated that we needed to pay deposit, so we did. Now, our agreement ended and we went back our countries but the landlord will not pay our deposits back. He makes ridiculous excuses such as broken closet rod which it was already broken when we moved there (he deducted $150 for it from our deposit) and other things like that. He supposed to pay $2,550.00 but he doesn’t. What can we do?

Asked on September 25, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In all states in this country, a landlord is required to return his or her former tenant's security deposit with a certain period after move out, usually within twenty-one (21) to forty-five (45) days. If not returned in full during that time period, the landlord is required to set forth an itemization of what has been with held and return the unused portion of it along with invoices showing what the expenses were for.

If the landlord has not returned the amount owed to you within the time period required, you need to send him or her a demand for payment, certified mail, return receipt requested for oayment by a set date. If not paid by then, you will need to sign a written assignment of your contract claim to a friend you trust where you went to school and have him or her bring an action against your former landlord as an assignee for your contractual claim in small claims court.

The landlord knows you are no longer in this country and this is why he or she is holding back your security deposit.


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