What to do with the return of our joint security deposit ifmy roommate breached the lease?

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What to do with the return of our joint security deposit ifmy roommate breached the lease?

My roommate broke the lease. After moving out, she made an agreement with the landlord to pay 70 per month for 3 months to fill the room. The lease ended and she never paid the landlord that money so it was deducted from our deposit, along with $20 to repair her bedroom door. I had to paint and do all the repairs myself. I had to purchase $30 in supplies to even get any money back(her damages cost $230 plus half the supplies). The deposit refund is written to both of us and she claims she is entitled to half the refund. Is this fair for her to get half back when she did nothing and broke the lease?What next? Court?

Asked on August 25, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, unfortunately, court is the only recourse for you. If the security deposit had been placed by both of you, then the landord had to return it to both of you. You may well have a claim to recover more of the deposit than your former roommate, owing to (1) her breach of the lease and her obligations to pay rent under it, meaning that you had to pay more than your share; (2) the damage she did to the premises; and (3) your purchase of supplies for repairs (you can't recover for your effort or sweat however); however, you need to consider whether, given the difference between what portion of the security deposit she would still be entitled to and the 1/2 she wants, it is worth--even in small claims court--the time, effort and costs (e.g. filing fees) that it will take to vindicate your rights.


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