How do I prove my landlord didn’t send back my security deposit?

I had a 1 year lease and then went month-to-month. I gave my 30 day notice and always paid rent on ttime and in full. I have not received my security deposit yet, although I have had correspondence back and forth with both my landlord and property manager about it. I have it in writing that the apartment was in good order but when I went month-to-month, the rent raised by $25. Now they are witholding $100 for the 4 months. After my last email fighting for my deposit in full 2 weeks ago, I have not heard back from either of them. It is past 30 days. What is my course of action? What keeps him from making a copy of a post dated check?

Asked on October 25, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

1) To  seek your deposit, you will have to sue your landlord. You can sue him in small claims court (small filing fee; cases move fast; you represent yourself).

2) Yes, the landlord can try to present evidence you were paid, but a) you can testify you never received anything, b) you can and should bring bank records to show that you didn't deposit the money, and c) a post-dated check is not payment--it's not payment until you physically have it and it clearls. So, yes, he could bring a check to court--and the judge would probably order him to turn it over to you, and to amend it (or void it and reissue a new one) so you can cash it immediately.

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