If I receive a security deposit and it’s not right can I cash it and still sue for the rest

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If I receive a security deposit and it’s not right can I cash it and still sue for the rest

My security deposit was late and
had over charged for things

Asked on December 23, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, if you believe that you were charged for items that were not damage done by you, your family, guests, or pets (or for late rent--security deposits can be applied to unpaid rent, too), then you can sue for the money you believe wrongfully withheld. Landlords can only charge you for late rent or other unpaid fees, like late fees, in the lease, or for damage you did which exceeds normal "wear and tear"--anything else is improper. Suing in small claims court, as your own attorney or "pro se" is an excellent option.
Cashing the amount they gave you does not prohibit you from suing--it just reduces what you can sue for. Example: your deposit was $2,000 and they gave you $1,000 back when you  think you should have received the whole amount. You can cash the $1,000 and sue for the other $1,000.


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