Can I sue for more than just my security deposit on rental property?

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Can I sue for more than just my security deposit on rental property?

My ex-landlord won’t contact me about refunding my $800 deposit and hasn’t provided me with damage list. Ignoring my calls and written requests to meet. House was left in good condition (I even had all the walls repainted to ensure I’d get deposit back). But that didn’t matter. I plan to file tomorrow and wasn’t sure if I could ask for me just because of the inconvenience, court costs, etc.

Asked on February 9, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Kentucky

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, the United States legal system does not generally allow recovery for  legal fees or compensation for time/inconvenience, though you may be able to get court costs (e.g. filing fees). Some states, like NJ, allow a tenant to get extra compensation when a landlord wrongfully withholds a security deposit, but it does not appear that KY does. Therefore, it  is likely that the most you can recover is the amount of the deposit, less any legitimate amounts you might owe (e.g. if there was some damage or unpaid rent), plus possibly court costs. This makes representing yourself in small claims court a very attractive option for you.


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