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Old 11-27-2011, 06:31 PM
 
19 posts, read 32,742 times
Reputation: 10

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My former landlord withhold my full security deposit and refused to return.

The landlord is from MA, he has property in both CA and MA. I rented his house in CA 12 yrs ago. Paid the rent month by month. Recently I moved out from CA to MA. But the landlord refused to return my SD. He sent my letter listed the reasons:

1. Late fee $300/time for 14 times in 12 yrs.
I totally forgot about late fee in the lease and could find the lease no more. Last 3 yrs I have been unemployment and had a hard time, paid late 4-7 days or so sometimes. He never mentioned he was gonna charge it from my deposit until I moved out 1 months later. Is it legal to withhold thousands dollar for late fee from deposit?

2. Last half year, we agreed to reduce the rent. We agreed by the phone and email. now I moved out, he listed this part of reduce rent as a unpaid rent in the letter. Took this part money from my security deposit too.

It is legal for a landlord to withhold all the deposit as the reasons above? If I have to file in the court, where should I file, in MA or CA ?what should I do? Thanks for any suggestion.
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Old 11-27-2011, 06:40 PM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
32,124 posts, read 74,348,006 times
Reputation: 39291
Quote:
Originally Posted by zhouna0323 View Post
My former landlord withhold my full security deposit and refused to return.
Did he describe his reasons for this action in writing?

Quote:
It is legal for a landlord to withhold all the deposit? Yes.
If I have to file in the court, where should I file, in MA or CA ?
You file where the house is located.

hth
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Old 11-27-2011, 06:41 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
16,791 posts, read 45,418,241 times
Reputation: 9446
Quote:
Originally Posted by zhouna0323 View Post
My former landlord withhold my full security deposit and refused to return.

The landlord is from MA, he has property in both CA and MA. I rented his house in CA 12 yrs ago. Paid the rent month by month. Recently I moved out from CA to MA. But the landlord refused to return my SD. He sent my letter listed the reasons:

1. Late fee $300/time for 14 times in 12 yrs.
I totally forgot about late fee in the lease and could find the lease no more. Last 3 yrs I have been unemployment and had a hard time, paid late 4-7 days or so sometimes. He never mentioned he was gonna charge it from my deposit until I moved out 1 months later. Is it legal to withhold thousands dollar for late fee from deposit?

2. Last half year, we agreed to reduce the rent. We agreed by the phone and email. now I moved out, he listed this part of reduce rent as a unpaid rent in the letter. Took this part money from my security deposit too.

It is legal for a landlord to withhold all the deposit as the reasons above? If I have to file in the court, where should I file, in MA or CA ?what should I do? Thanks for any suggestion.
Read what the California laws say about the requirements for a landlord withholding your security deposit and what it says about late fees. There are often very explicit procedures that the landlord must follow in order to do either of these legally.

If he did not follow those procedures then you should send him a letter telling him so and demanding your money back, otherwise you will sue him in small claims court. Some states allow the judge to award triple damages if the security deposit was wrongfully withheld. Read what the California law says.

Landlord/Tenant Book Index - California Department of Consumer Affairs

If you have written proof that the landlord agreed to the reduction in rent then you should be able to sue him in California small claims court to get that portion of your deposit back.
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Old 11-27-2011, 07:49 PM
 
19 posts, read 32,742 times
Reputation: 10
Did he describe his reasons for this action in writing?

Yes, reason 1: late fee 300/ time for 14 time in 12 yrs which he said We signed the lease 12 yrs ago.
2. Last half year, I emailed him to reduce the rent, otherwise I couldn't afford to live there longer since I have been unemployed for 2 yrs. He agreed reduced couple hundreds /month. He deducted it from my SD now


You file where the house is located.
The landlord and I both reside in MA . Is there any posibble to file here, so we both can appear in court in time?
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Old 11-27-2011, 08:00 PM
 
4,399 posts, read 10,018,141 times
Reputation: 2370
Quote:
Originally Posted by zhouna0323 View Post
Did he describe his reasons for this action in writing?

Yes, reason 1: late fee 300/ time for 14 time in 12 yrs which he said We signed the lease 12 yrs ago.
2. Last half year, I emailed him to reduce the rent, otherwise I couldn't afford to live there longer since I have been unemployed for 2 yrs. He agreed reduced couple hundreds /month. He deducted it from my SD now


You file where the house is located.
The landlord and I both reside in MA . Is there any posibble to file here, so we both can appear in court in time?
No you must file in CA.
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Old 11-27-2011, 08:04 PM
 
19 posts, read 32,742 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by CptnRn View Post
Read what the California laws say about the requirements for a landlord withholding your security deposit and what it says about late fees. There are often very explicit procedures that the landlord must follow in order to do either of these legally.

If he did not follow those procedures then you should send him a letter telling him so and demanding your money back, otherwise you will sue him in small claims court. Some states allow the judge to award triple damages if the security deposit was wrongfully withheld. Read what the California law says.

Landlord/Tenant Book Index - California Department of Consumer Affairs

If you have written proof that the landlord agreed to the reduction in rent then you should be able to sue him in California small claims court to get that portion of your deposit back.
Thanks for the reply.

I have read the tenant-LL law in both CA and MA. The only confusion no any law explains where an out of state tenant supposes to file since the both party in same lacation (MA).

I have sent him email and call many time to demand my SD , he first refused then now ignored. We didn't have other issue problem. Had taken care of his house well for 12 yrs, I only want to demand back my $5000 SD. We had email proof that he agreed the reduction, but the lease I signed 12 yrs ago stated $300/time, which he charged $4800 for it.
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Old 11-27-2011, 08:07 PM
 
2,688 posts, read 6,996,253 times
Reputation: 4185
Exclamation To Bad...

Quote:
Originally Posted by zhouna0323 View Post
My former landlord withhold my full security deposit and refused to return.

The landlord is from MA, he has property in both CA and MA. I rented his house in CA 12 yrs ago. Paid the rent month by month. Recently I moved out from CA to MA. But the landlord refused to return my SD. He sent my letter listed the reasons:

1. Late fee $300/time for 14 times in 12 yrs.
I totally forgot about late fee in the lease and could find the lease no more. Last 3 yrs I have been unemployment and had a hard time, paid late 4-7 days or so sometimes. He never mentioned he was gonna charge it from my deposit until I moved out 1 months later. Is it legal to withhold thousands dollar for late fee from deposit?

2. Last half year, we agreed to reduce the rent. We agreed by the phone and email. now I moved out, he listed this part of reduce rent as a unpaid rent in the letter. Took this part money from my security deposit too.

It is legal for a landlord to withhold all the deposit as the reasons above? If I have to file in the court, where should I file, in MA or CA ?what should I do? Thanks for any suggestion.
You know my friend...LL's apparently feel they have a right to do anything they wish...it's up to you to gather your paperwork and fight 'em in court.
Koale
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Old 11-27-2011, 11:06 PM
 
Location: Kailua Kona, HI
3,199 posts, read 12,636,608 times
Reputation: 3411
Quote:
Originally Posted by zhouna0323 View Post
Thanks for the reply.

I have read the tenant-LL law in both CA and MA. The only confusion no any law explains where an out of state tenant supposes to file since the both party in same lacation (MA).

I have sent him email and call many time to demand my SD , he first refused then now ignored. We didn't have other issue problem. Had taken care of his house well for 12 yrs, I only want to demand back my $5000 SD. We had email proof that he agreed the reduction, but the lease I signed 12 yrs ago stated $300/time, which he charged $4800 for it.

There is no confusion over where to file - you file where the property is located. period. And you must appear in person at the hearing.
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Old 11-28-2011, 05:26 AM
 
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
24,669 posts, read 65,465,910 times
Reputation: 26623
If I were you I would consult with an attorney on this one. If money is tight at least get an opinion or go to Legal Aid in your present community. Good luck!
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Old 11-28-2011, 11:59 AM
 
19 posts, read 32,742 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by STT Resident View Post
If I were you I would consult with an attorney on this one. If money is tight at least get an opinion or go to Legal Aid in your present community. Good luck!
Thanks very much. I will do some research online to find a Legal Aid here.
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