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After 2 attempts to get my security deposit back, I think the next step is small claims but am I risking messing it up if

Boston, MA |

I don't hire a lawyer or at least consult with one first? I think the law is pretty clear that if it is past 30 days I am owed triple but I've never been to small claims court and don't know what to expect from the process.

Attorney Answers 2


You might find helpful my Legal Guide "How to Organize Your Small Claims Case Testimony"

Good luck

God bless. I note that you might check to see if your damages are within the small claims court jurisdiction.

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Erik Hammarlund

Erik Hammarlund


Just FYI, that link does not seem to be active....


You don't need to do it yourself.

Basically all violations of the security deposit law fall under MGL 186 s15B. That statute provides for automatic attorneys fees, and (in many cases) also provides for automatic triple damages. Also, because the statute is complex yet specific, in most cases the violation is easy to prove.

Because the attorneys fees are mandated by statute, most attorneys who work in this area will generally take these cases on a contingent fee basis. You won't have to pay up front, because the landlord will be liable for attorneys fees when they lose.

So my advice is that you find a landlord/tenant attorney and "hire" them (you should not have to pay any legal fees up front, though some attorneys will ask you to pay the filing fee.) They will probably want to go to district court, because it permits them to win on a motion for summary judgment--that's what I usually do, in any case.

Do you want accurate, personalized, legal advice that you can rely on? You will have to hire an attorney, not ask on Avvo. I am not your attorney and am not creating an attorney-client relationship by this post. I am therefore giving only general advice. This advice may not apply to you or your situation; may not take account of all possibilities, and may not match the advice I would give to a client. DO NOT rely on this advice or any other advice on Avvo to make your legal decisions. If you want an answer to a legal question you should retain an attorney who is licensed in your state.

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