Can I get back my security deposit, etc ifmy rentalwas uninhabitable and I never lived there?

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Can I get back my security deposit, etc ifmy rentalwas uninhabitable and I never lived there?

I rented an apartment but when I went in the first night there were cockroaches all over. The next day went to manager and he stated he knew of this problem and did not disclose. Asked for my money back, he finally decided he would give me back $1,200 of the $2,100. Said check will be sent to me within 30 days. I want to take him to small claims court for the rest, as this apartment was uninhabitable and they knew that. Do I have a chance to get any of this money back? And also, if I cash that check when I get it, will they hold that against me as agreement that I settled for the $1,200 back and no more? I paid 1st, last months rent deposit and an additional $200 for a prorated month.

Asked on September 10, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you cash the check without indicating this is under protest, you run the risk of losing the rest of your claim. Better to not cash at all but if you need the money make sure you indicate everywhere on the check (back) that this is not a full and final settlement. Email him and indicate he can be liable for more than the just your security back by law if he chooses not to return the rest of your money due to his fraud and the fact the place is uninhabitable. Then immediately wait and see if he returns your money. Wait about two days then contact the Health Department in your community and the state attorney general and move forward with complaints and inform the agencies of the fact the place is uninhabitable and the landlord fraudulently failed to disclose items to you.


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