Can a landlord keep security deposit if a 60 day notice of intent to vacate was given?

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Can a landlord keep security deposit if a 60 day notice of intent to vacate was given?

Started with 6 month lease and notice to vacate was 30 days. After that time, the lease required month-to-month with an addional $25 a month and notice to vacate was 2 calender months. Gave 60 days notice on 12/2 moved out 01/29. Paid January rent and property manager said all was fine. Management company billed me $40, which includes a $35 late fee. Said did not give proper notice &andcompany sustained a loss; I owe rent for February, plus breach of contract and abandonment. I sent a certified letter of dispute but it was not acknowledged and another bill was sent. No issues as to condition of apartment and I returned keys in person.

Asked on April 5, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Maryland

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

This is a question of fact, not law. Legally, if you were a month-to-month tenant, you only owed 30 days notice, so you gave more than that. Practically, if the landlord or property manager never received the notice, it was effectively not given. So issues are (1) can you prove they received it (in the future, make sure it's sent with return receipt); and (2) was it sent in the proper way--if the prior lease had specified a certain method to provide notice, it may be you needed to use that method even after the lease was over.

You may have grounds to fight this, if you feel you sent the notice the right way and that they received it and that you can reasonably show this. You should consider how much money is at stake first, and whether it is worth fighting--it's always good to think about the economics, not "just" what your rights may be. Good luck.


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