What amI entitled to if my landlord hasn’t returned my security deposit and it’s been over the 30 day limit?

I was renting an apartment up until last month which is when the lease ended and I moved out. Since that time I’ve been completely unable to contact my former landlord. They have my security deposit of $650. I assume they’re charging me something for damages (although they haven’t informed me of what they might be and how much they’re charging) but because they have failed to return anything to me (or even return my phone calls, which I have made plenty of) am I entitled the entire $650? If so, how do I go about doing that? Do I have to take this to court?

Asked on October 14, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you have not received the return of any portion of your security deposit and the time period for the landlord to return it has expired, you need to write him or her demanding the security deposit's full return by a set date, keeping a copy of your letter for future reference.

If you do not receive the return of your security deposit within the demanded time period, your option is a small claims court action. Your damges would be the $650.00 security deposit, accrued interest on this amount from when the date it was due and any statutory penalty for the landlord in not promptly returning it. Some states have stautory penalties of up to twice the amount of the security deposit wrongfully withheld.

Good luck.

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