From the Forum – Getting a Security Deposit back

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Getting a Security Deposit back:

“I moved out of my apartment over 3 months ago and my landlord still has not returned my security deposit. He has said via email he has mailed a couple checks to my new address but none have shown up. I know legally he was required to return it within 45 days, but I’m not sure what the next step is to enforce this. Office of the Tenant Advocate? Department of Consumer Affairs? Small Claims court? Anyone have experience seeking a legal solution?”

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12 Comment

  • Have him send the check via certified mail with a tracking number. If he refuses to do so, you know something’s up.

  • Set up an Occupy camp in his front yard.

  • If he refuses, you can file a claim in Small Claims Court. It’s a pretty simple process, though having to take off work isn’t fun. I successfully won a judgment in small claims court against a landlord last year and it felt reallllly good.

  • Can you go pick the check up face to face? The “couple of checks” part sounds off though…

    • I would attempt to do this first. Much less hassle than going through the court.
      If he refuses to meet you, then start the claims court process.

  • Try and see if you can pick up in person. After that, demand letter. (google it)

    Demand that he sends you a check via certified mail by so and so date. Tell him you will file suit the following day if he does not follow through. If/when he doesn’t follow through, file suit.

  • I had this happen with a roommate I was subletting from. When I asked what was going on with the deposit she cursed me out. When I said I was legally entitled to have it back she made up a list of stuff that was broken and said she didn’t have to return it. When I asked for photos or repair receipts to confirm her claims, she got really angry and left a long rambling voicemail about how she’d gotten a restraining order against me and would be taking me to court on charges of slander. Pretty sure she was lying and simply needed my $950 to fuel her shopping compulsion… But she seemed a bit unhinged and I decided it was best to let it go. I was in the midst of moving a starting a new job and didn’t want to take time off work to take her to court. I figured if that happened she would just damage the apartment so she’d have her “proof” anyway. I’m kind of mad at myself for letting her get away with it, though.

  • I’ve had this happen with three land lords over my seven years renting in DC

    After 45 days of unreturned phone calls and emails, as soon as I mention “small claims court” or “taking legal action”, I get a response that day.

    Threatening to take legal action works like a charm, every time.

    • This happened to me! I would call and call and they would always claim that the check was in the next run.

      What finally allowed me to get it back was a certified letter citing the tenant laws, with the threat of legal action if the landlord did not comply within five business days. Two days later I received a check for the full amount.

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