If I recently moved and the landlord screwed me out of most of my deposit, what are my options?

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If I recently moved and the landlord screwed me out of most of my deposit, what are my options?

I moved and the landlord overcharged for cleaning and repairs that were deducted from my security deposit.

Asked on April 18, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You could sue the landlord to recover any amounts he or she improperly withheld. The landlord may only charge you the reasonable cost of repairs which are made necessary by damage which you (or your family, guests, and pets) caused, which damage exceeds normal wear and tear for the amount of time you lived there. The landlord may not charge you for normal wear and tear; may not charge you for normal, end-of-tenancy cleaning; may not charge you for his own or his staff's time, only for parts/supplies and outside contractors or labor; and while the landlord does not have to charge you the absolute lowest repair cost, he or she may not charge you an inflated or excessive cost, or for unnecessary repairs.

One option is to sue in small claims court, where filing fees are low, you can act as your own attorney (saving on legal fees), and where cases tend to move somewhat faster.


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