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Can I sue my landlord for my security deposit?

Virginia Beach, VA |

My landlord does not fall under the Virginia Residential Landlord &Tenant Act & has not returned my security deposit. The lease states 30 days to provide security deposit less normal wear & tear. They've sent 45.00 of $500 and a list of damages (after 30 days) which aren't itemized with amounts such as broken light fixture, paint, carpet, cleaning and labor. I have emails where I asked for walls to be repainted at move in & paint was purchased and left for me to do it. But I didn't. I paid to have the carpet cleaned at move in and out $250 total and they said it had to be recleaned. I sent a dispute letter & now they are will to give me $112 more but I want the total deposit plus what I paid to have the carpet cleaned at move in. Dirty at movein & I also have pictures. Do I have a case?

Attorney Answers 1


You have a very strong case to recover a portion of the deposit. However, it is costly to do so, unless you plan to undertake the matter on your own. In this case you should file what is called a Tenant's Assertion with the General District Court for the City or County in which your apartment was located. Filing fees range from $40 to $50 dollars, and service of process can range from $15 to $75, to have the landlord served with a summons to appear in court.

If you can show that the apartment was left in the same or similar condition as when you began renting you can receive the full deposit. Also, every landlord falls under the Virginia Residential Landlord & Tenant Act, whether it is in the contract or not. Those laws govern every landlord and tenant relationship in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

I recommend calling an attorney in Virginia Beach and they may explain in more detail the requirements for filing. You may also look under Forms - Civil - Tenants Assertion in the Virgina Courts Website. There are also instructions that are helpful for each form.

I hope this is helpful.

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1 comment

Michelle Nicole Mathis

Michelle Nicole Mathis


VRLTA does not apply to every Landlord-Tenant relationship. There are exceptions, for example, it does not apply to single-family rental houses where the landlord owns and rents ten or fewer such houses. See Va Code §§ § 55-248.3:1, 55-248.5

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