Philadelphia Lawyer Landlord Tenant Security Deposit
As much as people try to maintain good working relationships, Landlords and Tenants are often at odds. Landlords and tenants both need one another and therefore should, at least in theory, be motivated to work together towards a mutually beneficial relationship. Often, however, the landlord-tenant relationship morphs from a business relationship to a personal one, which sometimes leads to emotional turmoil, and very frequently passionate disagreements. Many Landlord-Tenant Relationships become adversarial, and sometimes the parties find themselves in court. Sometimes tenants are just miserable occupants. They make late rent payments, prove bothersome to neighbors, damage the property, etc. But at other times the with the landlord is at fault. Many feel entitled as the owner to operate their property however they chose, irrespective of law or contract, and ignore the rights of tenants. This feeling is adverse to the language of law.
Tenants have rights under the law concerning the landlord-tenant relationship. One of the many is the right to the return of their Security Deposit. Too often, landlords try to avoid returning the Security Deposit, coming up with every conceivable reason to hold onto the tenant’s money and increase their revenue. Don’t just sit back and let your former landlord keep your money. Call The Law Offices of Greg Prosmushkin, P.C. today to speak with one of our attorneys about getting your money back!
The Law in Pennsylvania
The Landlord-Tenant Act of 1951, under P.C.S.A Section 250.512 provides requirements for both the Landlord and Tenant regarding security deposits. In order to get your deposit back as a tenant, you must provide your landlord with written notice of your new address once you vacate the property. It is not the landlord’s responsibility to invest resources to track you down. If you fail to meet this obligation, you will be constructively relieving your landlord of their obligation to return these funds. If you are worried about providing this written notice, we would be happy to help you.
Landlord Tenant Security Deposit Lawyer Philadelphia
Once the landlord has received your new address, the clock starts running. As far as the landlord’s responsibilities, they are required to provide you an itemized written accounting for any damages for which they are holding you liable within 30 days of either the termination of the lease or your surrender of the property. They must include with this listing the remainder of the security deposit beyond actual damages.
A landlord who fails to provide this list and the remainder of the deposit within the prescribed 30-day time frame forfeits his or her right to withhold any portion of the deposit, and to bring suit against the tenant for damages to the property. Conversely, the tenant may bring suit for double damages – that is – double the amount of the Security Deposit. It will fall on the landlord to prove damages to the property. In this unique situation, the burden shifts from the plaintiff to the defendant.
If the landlord does provide you an itemized list within the 30 days, but the charges on the list are improper, then you can go after the landlord under Pennsylvania’s Consumer Protection Law, the Unfair Trade Practice and Consumer Protection Law. In some circumstances, you may be entitled to a reward of treble damages (THREE times the amount of your security deposit) and reimbursement of your attorneys’ fees.
This content was written on behalf of Greg Prosmushkin.