Should I sue the landlord or the management agent for not returning my security deposit?

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Should I sue the landlord or the management agent for not returning my security deposit?

Our tenancy lasted for 2 years. We paid our rent regularly to the agent every month. At the last month of our tenancy the owners changed the agent who did the move out inspection. We met all the conditions but they refuse to return the deposit. Should we sue the landlord, who lives out of town, the current agent, who did the move-out or the first agent, whom we paid the rent to?

Asked on July 27, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Georgia

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Ultimately the landlord is responsible for returning the security.  The landlord can delegate their duties to a management company (collect rent, make repairs, etc.) but if your lease was with the landlord then sue him.  I might name everyone in the suit anyway but that could at times muddy the waters.  Here is the law in Georgia:

A Georgia landlord leasing residential real estate containing five or more units who receives a security deposit may not withhold any part of that deposit as compensation for property damage unless he furnishes to the tenant, within thirty days of the date the tenant vacates, a statement of damage allegedly caused by the tenant and the estimated or actual cost of repairing or replacing each item on that statement. If the landord does not send you the statement with in the 30 days then the landlord must return the security deposit in full within 45 days of the date the tenant vacated.  There is a landlord tenant hotline in Georgia set up to help you. They are connected to the Department of Consumer Affairs. Call them 404-463-1596 or 800-369-4706.  Good luck.


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