Can a rental company hold on to an overpayment due to a billing error on their part?

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Can a rental company hold on to an overpayment due to a billing error on their part?

Our lease is up on the 22nd of this month and we gave the rental company proper 2 month notice. They told us we were only responsible for pro-rated amount. We were billed the full amount due to their billing error not showing a pro-rated month (payment on auto-payment every month on our end). In speaking with them, they tell us they will hold the overpayment until after we move out and they do a walk-through and then send us the check within 30 days after we move out. Can they legally hold the money they overcharged us?

Asked on August 5, 2011 North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No, legally, they cannot hold onto the overpayment pending the walk through; the only money(ies) that may be applied against whatever the walk through may find--e.g. damage to the rental premises, requiring repair and replacement--is the security deposit.

As a practical matter, given that to get your money back earlier--if they will not voluntarily pay it--you would have to sue them, it may not be worthwhile taking action at this point. If you do not urgently need the money, it may be better to wait and see if it's returned. If it is, you have save yourself the cost and time of a lawsuit; if it's not, then that's the time, when you know the total amount for certain that you're not receiving, to take legal action.


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