Your Previous Landlord Seizes Your Deposit: What Do You Do?

Posted on: 20 March 2015

Relocating from a rented apartment or house can be an elating time. Deliberations over shifting to a new property are what are likely to dominate your thoughts. However, it can also be a nerve-racking period, as well. This is especially true when you are expecting to recover your deposit only to find out that your previous landlord is adamant on keeping it or even charging you extra costs on top of your deposit. If you hold the belief that these charges are unfair, what options do you have in terms of getting justice? Read on to find out.

Landlord- Renter Philosophy

To begin with, it is imperative that you fathom the basic principle behind majority of landlord-renter laws in various states. Normally, the laws are meant to create a perfect balance between the landlord's interest in having the apartment protected and maintained while protecting the renter's interest in a secure and livable setting. Nevertheless, the laws also attempt to level the playing ground given that there is a difference in power between the landlord and the renter or occupant. Moreover, this means safeguarding the renters from unscrupulous landlords and letting agencies.

Notice Requirements

One of the laws that seek to protect the interest of the occupant is the prerequisite for notice. In case a landlord demands a deposit before a renter moves into the property, majority of states require detailed notice to be included in a written lease concerning the exact sum of the deposit and the conditions under which the deposit may be surrendered or forfeited. Failure to serve the tenant with these notices early in advance makes any form of seizure by the landlord unlawful and subject to a lawsuit.

Fraudulent Charges

One of the common mistakes landlords commit is to make charges for items that either weren't necessary or weren't carried out. For instance, landlords will try to charge for repairs on walls, plumbing systems and painting even when there are none. In some cases, the alleged charges for repairs may have been made-up or inflated to make cash from the deposit.

Legal Action

If the property owner is resolute on seizing your deposit, and you are of the opinion that such seizure is unlawful, you can resort to legal action against the landlord. You can hire an experienced property lawyer and file a claim about the illegal seizure of deposits or erroneous appraisal of falsified charges. During the case, your property lawyer may request the court that the defendant produces accompanying invoices of the repairs in an effort to substantiate the repairs. Although the deposit is the fundamental intent of such legal action, the tenant can seek additional damages, especially if scam is involved. This may skyrocket the sum in dispute to well over the deposit balance, making it an appealing prospect for the tenant as well as their legal representative.

For more information, check out companies such as Adams & Co Lawyers Pty Ltd.