If I’m disputing my landlord keeping my security deposit, how long do I give him to respond before I take the matter to small claims court?

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If I’m disputing my landlord keeping my security deposit, how long do I give him to respond before I take the matter to small claims court?

I am sending my landlord a certified letter disputing his charge for painting my townhouse. I lived in the town house for 5 years and I believe it to be his

responsibility to repaint. He acknowledged that the painter did a poor job and had someone come in a make repairs to the drywall and the contractor never came back and painted over the marks they left. I just need to know how long do I give him before i take him to court.

Asked on November 5, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Typically, the landlord has a month from the end of tenancy to resolve security deposit issues, so you should give him at least 30, probably more like 35 - 40, days before bringing a legal action.
You are correct that a landlord may not charge you for repainting unless you (or a family member, guest, pet, etc.) did something beyond normal "wear and tear" requiring repaining (or wall repair and repainting). For example, you left large markes on the paint from moving furniture in and out; you put an excessive number of holes in the walls, which had to be filled, then repainted; a child drew or painted on the walls; etc.


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