What to do if my landlord is keeping most of the deposit due to false claims of the apartment being infested with fleas?

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What to do if my landlord is keeping most of the deposit due to false claims of the apartment being infested with fleas?

At no point did I see fleas in the apartment while living there for a year. I hear of this claim a month after I moved out but she claims to have been aware while I was still living there.

Asked on December 5, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Even if there were fleas, a landlord may not withhold the security deposit unless the tenant caused or contributed to them (such as by not cooperating with exterimination efforts)--if you were not at fault in there being fleas, your landlord has no right to withhold any part of your deposit. Even if you were at fault, the landlord can only withhold the actual cost to correct the situation (e.g. the cost of exterimination). If the landlord unlawfully withholds your deposit when she is not allowed to, you could sue her, including possibly in small claims court (where you could act as your own attorney) for its return.


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