What to do if my landlord makes excuses to not torefund my deposit?

My problem is my ex-landlord makes excuses to not to pay my deposit back. After I moved out he sent a document and he said that he deducted $140 for the broken closet rod (I even didn’t have it anyway.) and he deduct $550 for a missing hardwire.Do you think these amounts are reasonable? Do you think the court would find me right if I sued him? By the way, I am an international student not an American citizen.

Asked on December 1, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you didn't have a broken closet rod, you can't be charged for it. More generally, a landlord may only withhold from a security deposit the following:

1) Amounts for any unpaid rent;

2) The actual amount to repair or replace anything which the tenant (or the tenant's guests, family, and pets) damaged or destroyed.

The landlord may not recover for normal wear and tear. If the landlord illegally withholds the security deposit, you may sue him; as long as you are hear legally, you should have access to the courts.  You may wish to sue in small claims court, where you can represent yourself and do not need an attorney.

As for whether the amounts are reasonabele...it depends on how expensive it is to repair the damage or replace the hardware, if you caused the damage. Try pricing it out on the internet or at a "Home Depot" or similar store to see what is reasonable.


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