Would it constitute blackmail or extortion for me to threaten to report code violations to the building inspector unless my landlord returns my security deposit?
Divorce / Separation Lawyer
Threatening anyone is not an advisable route. Have you asked your landlord in writing for your deposit back? If so, what has your landlord said as to why he will not give it back? Landlords are required to return security deposits within 30 days or they can be subject to triple damages. Your best bet is to have an attorney send a demand letter on your behalf, many attorneys will do so on a contingency fee basis and if that doesn't work take action in court. Best of luck.
Melissa Levine is a licensed attorney in Massachusetts. All answers are based on Massachusetts law and should not be construed as legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is formed by Attorney Levine answering your question. It is advisable to consult with an attorney about your personal legal concerns.
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Criminal Defense Attorney
It depends how it is phrased
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Employment / Labor Attorney
The chances are decent that you're entitled to your deposit back no matter what. I say that because the security deposit statute is so precise and difficult that only a very small percentage of landlords manage to fully comply, and noncompliance will entitle you to the return of your deposit.
Take a look at the statute, here.
You might be particularly interested in sections (b), (c) and (d), which are often violated and which entitle you to get the deposit back.
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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