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Christopher R. Minelli

Christopher Minelli’s Answers

174 total


  • Security deposit

    I moved out of my apartment and the manager inspected the place with me . She told me the only thing wrong was a stain on the carpet. Two weeks later I recieved a list of many other things wrong. What can i do about that?

    Christopher’s Answer

    Your question is a good one and should probably be directed to a local attorney in your state. The answer is heavily dependent on local law, but I can give you a basic overview of security deposits for your reference.

    Generally, a security deposit is separate from the rent payments (sometimes called "dependent convenants" in the lease) and the deposit cannot be used for rent payments or matters not germane to the specifics of why the deposit is given as delineated in the lease. This is because the deposit (in most states) is considered to be the property of the tenant even if in the custody of the landlord.

    A landlord is usually required to place a security deposit in a separate account. This is known as not "commingling" the funds. Basically, a security deposit remains the tenant's property, and a landlord has a fiduciary duty to keep it separate and maintain an accurate accounting. Also, the landlord has a duty to return unused funds with a final accounting after the tenancy is ended.

    In many states, a landlord is also responsible for paying the tenant a small amount of interest on the deposit. This amount can sometimes be raised by local ordinances, especially in large metropolitan areas.

    I would recommend speaking to a local lawyer because security deposits are heavily dependent on local landlord-tenant ordinances or state law. Each state treats the relationship between landlord and security deposit the same, but the specifics (i.e. interest rate and remedies) are different.

    Good luck!

    NOTE: This answer is not intended to be legal advice and should not be construed in that way. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and no such relationship may be created absent a signed retainer agreement. The author is licensed in Illinois only, and his answer is for educational purposes alone.

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  • Can I be sued for the whole security deposit after one of three tenants accepted the remaining balance or sued at all?

    I rented a house to 3 tenants. The lease has all 3 tenants listed on one lease. All tenants signed their own copies of the lease which listed all 3 of them listed. Moving day came and there were damages. We deducted the damages from the security d...

    Christopher’s Answer

    Your question should be directed to a local attorney in your state. The answer is heavily dependent on local law, but I can give you a basic overview of security deposits for your reference. Additionally, you don't have certain key facts noted. Why is the tenant taking you to court? What grounds is she claiming? A local attorney will be able to sort out what happened and provide you with advice on what to do.

    A landlord is usually required to place a security deposit in a separate account. This is known as not "commingling" the funds. Basically, a security deposit remains the tenant's property, and a landlord has a fiduciary duty to keep it separate and maintain an accurate accounting. Also, the landlord has a duty to return unused funds with a final accounting after the tenancy is ended.

    In many states, a landlord is also responsible for paying the tenant a small amount of interest on the deposit. This amount can sometimes be raised by local ordinances, especially in large metropolitan areas.

    I would recommend speaking to a local lawyer because security deposits are heavily dependent on local landlord-tenant ordinances or state law. Each state treats the relationship between landlord and security deposit the same, but the specifics (i.e. interest rate and remedies) are different.

    NOTE: This answer is not intended to be legal advice and should not be construed in that way. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and no such relationship may be created absent a signed retainer agreement. The author is licensed in Illinois only, and his answer is for educational purposes alone.

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  • My landlord is witholding my security deposit and one month's rent due to not enough move out notice -

    Over the past months I have asked her a few times for copies of my lease - she never responded. I just returned from 2 mos. away working and let her know I would not be renewing my lease (3+ weeks prior) to my move out date. She emailed that that ...

    Christopher’s Answer

    Your question is a good one and should probably be directed to a local attorney in your state. The answer is heavily dependent on local law, but I can give you a basic overview of security deposits for your reference.

    Generally, a security deposit is separate from the rent payments (sometimes called "dependent convenants" in the lease) and the deposit cannot be used for rent payments or matters not germane to the specifics of why the deposit is given as delineated in the lease. This is because the deposit (in most states) is considered to be the property of the tenant even if in the custody of the landlord.

    A landlord is usually required to place a security deposit in a separate account. This is known as not "commingling" the funds. Basically, a security deposit remains the tenant's property, and a landlord has a fiduciary duty to keep it separate and maintain an accurate accounting. Also, the landlord has a duty to return unused funds with a final accounting after the tenancy is ended.

    In many states, a landlord is also responsible for paying the tenant a small amount of interest on the deposit. This amount can sometimes be raised by local ordinances, especially in large metropolitan areas.

    I would recommend speaking to a local lawyer because security deposits are heavily dependent on local landlord-tenant ordinances or state law. Each state treats the relationship between landlord and security deposit the same, but the specifics (i.e. interest rate and remedies) are different.

    Good luck!

    NOTE: This answer is not intended to be legal advice and should not be construed in that way. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and no such relationship may be created absent a signed retainer agreement. The author is licensed in Illinois only, and his answer is for educational purposes alone.

    See question 
  • NM residential landlord tenant act, landlord refuses to refund deposit

    I paid $1500.00 deposit to get into my apartment in 2006. I have been without water on numerous occasions and all of my complaints to the apartment manager/owner were never responded to. We have been out of water sometimes for days with no way t...

    Christopher’s Answer

    Your question is a good one and should probably be directed to a local attorney in your state. The answer is heavily dependent on local law, but I can give you a basic overview of security deposits for your reference.

    Generally, a security deposit is separate from the rent payments (sometimes called "dependent convenants" in the lease) and the deposit cannot be used for rent payments or matters not germane to the specifics of why the deposit is given as delineated in the lease. This is because the deposit (in most states) is considered to be the property of the tenant even if in the custody of the landlord.

    A landlord is usually required to place a security deposit in a separate account. This is known as not "commingling" the funds. Basically, a security deposit remains the tenant's property, and a landlord has a fiduciary duty to keep it separate and maintain an accurate accounting. Also, the landlord has a duty to return unused funds with a final accounting after the tenancy is ended.

    In many states, a landlord is also responsible for paying the tenant a small amount of interest on the deposit. This amount can sometimes be raised by local ordinances, especially in large metropolitan areas.

    I would recommend speaking to a local lawyer because security deposits are heavily dependent on local landlord-tenant ordinances or state law. Each state treats the relationship between landlord and security deposit the same, but the specifics (i.e. interest rate and remedies) are different.

    Good luck!

    NOTE: This answer is not intended to be legal advice and should not be construed in that way. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and no such relationship may be created absent a signed retainer agreement. The author is licensed in Illinois only, and his answer is for educational purposes alone.

    See question 
  • OR state landlord tenant law, tenant's rights against landlord not refunding deposit refund

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Oregon Ok I'm going to try to keep this as short as possible and easy to understand. I moved out of my apartment on June 14th this year. I received my deposit refund fairly timely but there was an ...

    Christopher’s Answer

    Your question is a good one and should probably be directed to a local attorney in your state. The answer is heavily dependent on local law, but I can give you a basic overview of security deposits for your reference.

    Generally, you are correct that a landlord is required to place a security deposit in a separate account. This is known as not "commingling" the funds. Basically, a security deposit remains the tenant's property, and a landlord has a fiduciary duty to keep it separate and maintain an accurate accounting. Also, the landlord has a duty to return unused funds with a final accounting after the tenancy is ended.

    In many states, a landlord is also responsible for paying the tenant a small amount of interest on the deposit. This amount can sometimes be raised by local ordinances, especially in large metropolitan areas.

    I would recommend speaking to a local lawyer because security deposits are heavily dependent on local landlord-tenant ordinances or state law. Each state treats the relationship between landlord and security deposit the same, but the specifics (i.e. interest rate and remedies) are different.

    Good luck!

    NOTE: This answer is not intended to be legal advice and should not be construed in that way. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and no such relationship may be created absent a signed retainer agreement. The author is licensed in Illinois only, and his answer is for educational purposes alone.

    See question 
  • What action can a tenant take against landlord for not putting tenant's security deposit into separate account

    I put a thous. security dep. for my apt. 10/2005. Landlord is suppose to put into account and show me statements and I get the interest when I move. This wasn't done and Landlord is playing games with me now - I'm moving in 6 months, but I want t...

    Christopher’s Answer

    Your question is a good one and should probably be directed to a local Washington, DC attorney. The answer is heavily dependent on local law, but I can give you a basic overview of security deposits for your reference.

    Generally, you are correct that a landlord is required to place a security deposit in a separate account. This is known as not "commingling" the funds. Basically, a security deposit remains the tenant's property, and a landlord has a fiduciary duty to keep it separate and maintain an accurate accounting. Also, the landlord has a duty to return unused funds with a final accounting after the tenancy is ended.

    I would recommend speaking to a local lawyer because security deposits are heavily dependent on local landlord-tenant ordinances or state law. Each state treats the relationship between landlord and security deposit the same, but the specifics (i.e. interest rate and remedies) are different.

    Good luck!

    NOTE: This answer is not intended to be legal advice and should not be construed in that way. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and no such relationship may be created absent a signed retainer agreement. The author is licensed in Illinois only, and his answer is for educational purposes alone.

    See question 
  • Is a tenant entitled to a refund of the security deposit if landlord is going through foreclosure

    my appartment house is going under foreclousre. what do i do about my security deposit? i called the properity management compant and still waiting for my landloard to contact me about my deposit no idea if its in an account or if its gone. i was ...

    Christopher’s Answer

    All states are different and it might be useful to consult a local attorney about Maine's landlord tenant laws and how local courts apprach the situation you are in. Generally speaking, most states protect security deposits and require landlords to either maintain them in separate accounts (because in many states a security deposit remains the property of the tenant) and most require detailed accountings to be maintained. A lawyer (or, if you don't want to consult a lawyer, a local tenant's rights organization or tenant union) will be able to advise you on tracking down the deposit and seeking its return.

    NOTE: This answer is not intended to be legal advice and should not be construed in that way. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and no such relationship may be created absent a signed retainer agreement. The author is licensed in Illinois only, and his answer is for educational purposes alone.

    See question 
  • Under IL landlord tenant laws can a tenant cash a partial return of a security deposit and sue for the remainder

    If only a partial payment is given for the return of a security deposit, can a person cash it and still seek the remainder in court? My landlord also exceeded the 30 day time limit to notify me of any amount to be withheld and to return any portio...

    Christopher’s Answer

    The answer depends on what the legal relationship between you and your landlord was (which is generally determined by the provisions of the lease) and, oddly enough, what the partial-payment check itself said. The Illinois Security Deposit Return Act requires a landlord covered by the Act (based on the number of units controlled, in this statute more than 5) to perform various record-keeping functions. He or she is required to disclose the basis of the deductions to the security deposit, and if he or she does not the tenant is entitled to the full return of the security deposit within 45 days. (765 ILCS 710/1).

    If the check says something to the effect of "paid in full" then likely it would bar your suit based on provisions in the Illinois Uniform Commercial Code. If it does not, I would suggest seeking the advice of a local attorney. The sucess of your suit will depend on what your lease said about the matter, what was said between you and your landlord, and generally the courts' feelings towards landlord-tenant disputes in your area.

    NOTE: This answer is not intended to be legal advice and should not be construed in that way. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and no such relationship may be created absent a signed retainer agreement. The author is licensed in Illinois only, and his answer is for educational purposes alone.

    See question 
  • VA state landlord tenant law, tenant's right to refund of security deposit, landlord's duties

    I live in Virginia and I recently moved out of a single family home. We vacated on June 1st, 2008. Our lease stated that we had 45 days to get our security deposit back and after 80 days we had heard nothing. We contacted them about the deposit an...

    Christopher’s Answer

    You will likely need to ask a local attorney, as most states regulate a landlord's relationship to a tenant's security deposit by statute. Each state thus has different nuances regarding security deposits. However, your intuition is correct that the law protects security deposits as the tenant's property (even if under the control of the landlord) and a tenant may bring some type of a claim, based on local law, to recover their property. An attorney who is skilled in Virginia landlord-tenant relations will be able to provide you with options on how to proceed.

    If you don't wish to consult an attorney, a local tenant's union or tenant's pro bono organization may be able to assist you.

    NOTE: This answer is not intended to be legal advice and should not be construed in that way. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and no such relationship may be created absent a signed retainer agreement. The author is licensed in Illinois only, and his answer is for educational purposes alone.

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  • Under PA landlord tenant law is a landlord entitled to keep the security deposit in event of lease breach

    I am a landlord by sublease in pa. i am evicting the sublets due to breaking the terms of the lease. in the lease it states that there is no smoking in the home allowed. the sublet was smoking in the bedroom and had previously lit the deck on fir...

    Christopher’s Answer

    You will likely need to ask a local attorney, as most states regulate a landlord's relationship to a tenant's security deposit by statute. Each state thus has different nuances regarding security deposits. However, your intuition is correct that the law protects security deposits as the tenant's property (even if under the control of the landlord) and a tenant may bring some type of a claim, based on local law, to recover their property.

    It is important to tread lightly, as some locales provide specified damages such as attorney's fees and (in the case of Chicago) treble damages for a tenant harmed by an unaware landlord's actions. It is better to get good local advice before acting in security deposit matters.

    If you don't wish to consult an attorney, a local tenant's union or tenant's pro bono organization may be able to assist you or at least direct you to the relevant laws.

    NOTE: This answer is not intended to be legal advice and should not be construed in that way. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and no such relationship may be created absent a signed retainer agreement. The author is licensed in Illinois only, and his answer is for educational purposes alone.

    See question