Landlord refuses to pay back the deposit due to insufficient funds

Hi I had a month to month agreement with the landlord however she had asked me
about a month’s security deposit. I gave her the notice of moving out 30 days in
advance as agreed and i have a text message for that. Now she is refusing to pay
the deposit back claiming she is short on cash but asking me to move out anyway
and come back in two weeks time. I am really distressed since she is an olderly
Indian lady with poor English and I dont want to be rude to her but i am loosing
patience, could you please advise me on what legal position i could take. I have
already paid rent on the other place. Thank you

Asked on April 23, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You can sue her for the money: her personal financial situation is not a legal justification for not returning your money, just as you would not have been allowed to live there rent-free if you had fallen on hard times. A good option would be to sue her in small claims court, acting as your own attorney ("pro se") to avoid legal fees. At any point if she returns the money, you could dismiss the suit. Suing is the only way to make her return the money if won't do so voluntarily.

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