If our lease didn’t mention giving notice not to renew, can our landlord use that we gave no noticeto deny the return of our security deposit?

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If our lease didn’t mention giving notice not to renew, can our landlord use that we gave no noticeto deny the return of our security deposit?

We realized after moving out of our apartment that we didn’t give our landlord 30 days notice. Our 12 month lease was over and nothing in our lease said anything about a 30 day notice. We are suing our landlord in small claims court to receive our deposit back. We left the apartment perfect condition but he kept all but $16 of our deposit making false claims. He said in our first hearing he would counter sue, but never said what for, and we haven’t received notice of anything. He has never asked for or mentioned rent due for not giving 30 days notice. How long does he have to request it, and can he sue us without ever asking for the money or telling us it’s due?

Asked on June 18, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

1) If you don't have to give notice, you don't have to give notice--so as long as the lease did not provide for notice, there was no obligation for you to give any. That means that if you moved out by the termination date of the lease, you would have no liabilty for additional or holdover rent.

2) A landlord may only without a securty deposit for a) previously unpaid rent; or b) to pay for necessary repairs, required because of damage the tenants, their family, or their guests, did. Any other withholding of the deposit is illegal; and even for legal withholding, the landlord needs to provide documentation and prove what was owed.

3) Anyone can bluster about suing. But to actually sue, he needs to have some legal basis and he'll need to provide or describe it in his lawsuit (or is case, counterclaim).


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