Is your Landlord illegally holding your security deposit?
A landlord has to return your deposit within one month of you moving out or explain to you, in writing, why any part of the deposit was withheld. The landlord is responsible for proving that all of the correct steps were followed if a deposit was withheld.
You could win back THREE TIMES the amount of the security deposit improperly withheld!
If the landlord fails to follow the law and improperly withholds the deposit, the tenant is entitled to three times the amount improperly withheld, plus all the tenant’s attorney's fees. That means you receive three times the deposit as cash in your pocket, no strings attached! There are some restrictions you should be aware of.
Did you give proper notice?
Typically, the tenant must not have abandoned the apartment without notice. If the tenant terminates a lease early, the tenant still needs to give the landlord notice, turn in the keys, and try to arrange a move-out inspection.
Did you provide proper contact information?
The tenant must provide the landlord with an accurate contact phone number, email, and forwarding address. If the landlord can show that an attempt at contact was made and that the tenant did not provide that contact information, then the landlord may not be liable for triple damages and attorney fees.
Do you have proof of payment?
Finally, the tenant must have proof that they paid a security deposit. A signed lease agreement indicating that a deposit was paid suffices.
To Ensure you get your deposit back, take pictures of the apartment when you move in and when you move out. Insist on doing a move out inspection with the landlord in person. If the landlord puts charges or damage on the move out an inspection that you do not agree with write "Object" next to them before you sign the move out inspection.
If you believe part or all of your security deposit is being improperly withheld, contact me today to defend your rights!
ROBERT J. CAIRNS IS AN ATTORNEY
LICENSED TO PRACTICE LAW IN GEORGIA
Attorney Robert Cairns, LLC | [email protected] | POB 81470 Atlanta, GA 30366
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