How do I get my deposit back from the landlord?

I was in an oral agreement with a roommate that entailed rent and a deposit. The landlord demanded the deposit after so many days not paid and at the last minute my roommate never paid his half. I ended up paying it with the notion that he would pay the rent, because the landlord was not leaving without a deposit. A few days later my roommate found a place and did not pay the months rent. He tried contacting the landlord to no avail for at least 4 days. Finally, landlord contacts us and meets us immediately and says either pay the rent for the month (6 days late by then) or leave by no later than 7:00 pm the next day. They still have my deposit. What do I do? I feel I got screwed and tomorrow I meet them for the deposit. What can they do with it and how much could possibly be taken? What can I do to prevent a large loss?

Asked on November 29, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Georgia


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The issue is whether or not you have a written lease agreement with your landlord for the unit you are renting or not. If you have a written lease with a particular person and paid a security deposit, you are obligated to receive its return within so many days of move out.

You need to carefully read your written lease agreement assuming you have one in that its terms and conditions control the obligations owed to you by the landlord and vice versa in the absence of conflicting state law.

From what you have written, your former roommate has created a problem for you. If you want to remain in the unit, I suggest that you get another roomate and sue your former roomate for the part of the rent that was his obligation that you paid.

If you vacate the unit (assuming you can) your landlord is required to return to you the security deposit within so mnay days of move out unless the written lease that you presumably signed specifically states that the security deposit can be used to offset owed rent.

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