Am, I entitled to the return of all or some of my security deposit ifI withheld rent due to a lack of repairs to the apartment by the landlord?

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Am, I entitled to the return of all or some of my security deposit ifI withheld rent due to a lack of repairs to the apartment by the landlord?

I lived in MD last year. I had 2 roommates and we all signed a lease. There were problems with the landlord and the conditions of the house all year long. I called the housing inspector and many letters were exchanged between the housing inspector, the landlord and myself. Due to these problems I did not pay rent because the housing conditions were not fixed in a timely manner. Due to myself not paying and my other roommate not paying full rent on time, I did not receive my security deposit back. My other 2 roommates were given partial security deposit back. What are my rights?

Asked on July 12, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Maryland

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Ok well lets start with a little bit on what to do next time this happens.  Never, ever withhold rent in a landlord tenant situation where the apartment is in any way uninhabitable.  The correct thing to do - besides  calling the inspector - is to go down to court and to ask to pay the rent in to court and to ask for an abatement (reduction) of the rent until the conditions are fixed.  Courts do not like it when you withhold rent. And now you are in a pickle becuase in Maryland a landlord can deduct rnt owed from the security deposit at the end of your lease (amongst other things). You are going to have to sit down and figure out all the nickels and dimes here with regard to the apartment and see if you can sue in small claims court.  I would seek some legal guidance in your area first.  Good luck. 


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