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I want to sue my landlord for return of security deposit. She lives in CA and I live in GA, how can she be served?

Smyrna, GA |

I moved from the rented residence on May 4, 2013 and turned over keys to my landlords representative after a move out inspection was done. The landlord has not returned my security deposit or send me a letter stating why. She lives in California and I live in Georgia. My local court says I must sue her in the state of her residency regardless of where the property is located. Is this true? Does this mean I must travel to California at my own expense?

I have not sent a demand letter because at the end of my lease, the landlord became very nasty and it was difficult for us to communicate. There was only minor damage to the property, a small ding in the wall that happened as we were moving out. How will she be served?

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

What does your lease say about disputes?

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Asker

Posted

My lease says nothing about disputes.

Posted

I agree with the previous answer and you can hire a lawyer in California to represent your interests and begin the lawsuit. Bear in mind you will be responsible for the fees unless the statute or your lease has an attorney's fee provision. You should be able to find an attorney in the jurisdiction on this website.
Good Luck

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Posted

Thanks Attorney Alexander. It is not worth the cost to hire an attorney. In the event I lose, which I dont think I will, I dont want to be out any additional money. I appreciate your help.

Shawn B Alexander

Shawn B Alexander

Posted

The good news is that most state's landlord tenant statutes allow for attorney's fees. If the landlord didn't follow the rules perhaps just a letter will remind them, just a thought.

Posted

Both previous answers are not correct. Your landlord can be sued in GA because she owns property in GA. You sue here and serve her in California. If you win, you can get a judgment lien against the property. There may also be a way to serve the agent in GA and that could be good service on the landlord. See OCGA 44-7-3

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Posted

Thanks Attorney Merbaum. This makes a lot of sense to me. My concern is how I can serve her in California. Cobb County says it has to be by a county sheriff. My research has shown that some states ask "how do you want defendant to be served" and certified mail is an option. I have a bit more research to do. Thanks for your help.

David Jason Merbaum

David Jason Merbaum

Posted

We file a lot of suits here and get service in California, but my associates handle that part of it. If you want to call the office I can have one of my associates tell you what we do when we serve in California.

Posted

What state is the property located? I am not familiar with Georgia's civil procedure rules but generally if the property is located in Georgia and the landlord has a personal representative in Georgia then you should be able to bring the suit there. You should speak to a local attorney who can advise you about the procedures. Also, for a fee, you can ask an attorney to send a demand letter on your behalf which may be more effective then sending a demand letter yourself and save you the trouble of bringing a lawsuit. Again, you should speak to a local attorney.

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