Can our previouslandlord suddenly sue us over 2 months after we moved out?

UPDATED: Oct 6, 2011

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Can our previouslandlord suddenly sue us over 2 months after we moved out?

We moved out of our previous apartment a little over 2 months ago. We turned in our 30 day notice requesting our safety deposit and moved out. They told us they were not responsible. The building had switched hands a couple times and after a lot of research we found that the current owner should give us our safety deposit back. So once again we sent them a letter requesting our safety deposit, which they returned by saying once again they never received it and if we were to take them to court for it they would sue us for over $1,000 in supposed damages. All of which were there when we moved in. Can they really sue us over 2 months later?

Asked on October 6, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Minnesota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

1) Can the landlord sue you 2 months later? Absolutely. A landlord may sue you any time within what's known as the statute of limitations, or legal time limit to sue. The statute of limitions for alleged damages to an apartment in MN would be, most likely, 6 years--that's the statute for  both written contracts (leases) and for damage to property. So they can easily sue after 2 months.

2) They can seek any amount of damages they can prove--so if the could prove an extra $1,000 of damages, they could try to sue for it. They can't sue you for more money just because they are angry or want to you not enforce your own legal rights.

3) Similarly, they can only keep your security deposit up to the amount they can prove you owe for damages.

4) Your are only responsible for repairs or extraordinary levels of cleaning (e.g. "industrial strength" carpet shampooing to get out pet urine stains) which were caused by you or your family, guests, and pets. The issue, often, is one of proof--can the landlord prove you caused damages? Or do you have proof that you did not?

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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