Skip to main content

Pennsylvania landlord tenant question?

Pittsburgh, PA |

i mailed my ex landlord a certified letter with apartment keys and my new address for
return of security deposit and last months rent, i got an email from the post office that she refused the letter, what do i do now?

+ Read More

Attorney answers 4


An attorney would need to review the lease and obtain a detailed chronology of what happened when, but you may have a right to commence litigation in court for return of your security deposit. My recollection is that you may be entitled to double the security deposit if certain conditions are met. So have a consultation with an attorney on how to proceed.


Your ex-landlord has 30 days to submit a list of repairs to you if he wishes to hold any portion of your security deposit. If they do not mail you a list or return the security deposit in full, then you can sue your ex-landlord for double the security deposit.

You should contact an attorney who can analyze your lease and give you proper advice for your area. Good luck.

Michael T. Muha, Esquire
The Law Office of Michael T. Muha, Esquire
Hermitage, PA 16148

Disclaimer: This response does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.


Refusal of mail is not the same as never receiving mail, some Courts hold that out as good service. Moreover, if you mailed it to an address identified in the lease, then you should be safe. Your landlord’s refusal to return the security deposit or provide a list of itemized damages means that the landlord may have waived any right to deduct damages from that deposit and you might be entitled to double the deposit damages and should consider going to small claims court

Note, in Pennsylvania, a security deposit of greater than $100 is required to be held in a Federally regulated escrow account and the landlord is required notify each of the tenants in writing, giving the name and address of the banking institution in which such deposits are held. Furthermore, if the funds are held for more than two years, they must be placed in an interest bearing escrow account. As an alternative to maintaining the funds in an interest bearing escrow savings account, a landlord is permitted to secure those sums with a bond, however, the interest must still be awarded to the tenant. At the end of each rental year, the landlord is required to pay interest dividends to the tenant. Finally, the landlord may hold no more than two months rent as security in the first year of the lease and may hold no more than one months rent as security for any year thereafter. For more information on security deposits, see the below link.

Stew Crawford, Jr., Esq.

Crawford Law Firm
A Full Service Law Firm Serving Pennsylvania & New Jersey

Philadelphia Area Office
223 North Monroe Street
Media, Pennsylvania 19063


All information provided in this comment is intended for informational purposes only and does not, by itself, create an attorney client relationship. If you wish to consult with an attorney, or have any questions concerning this comment, please feel free to contact our offices through any of the above contact sources.

Nellie T. Schulz

Nellie T. Schulz


As far as I can tell, there is no case in Pennsylvania addressing whether the refusal of a certified mailing under these circustances is sufficient to give the Landlord notice of Tenant's new address. The applicable statute about Tenant being required to send notice to the Landlord of his new address simply says that it's to be "mailed" - it does not require a certified mailing or say what happens if the certified mailing is refused.

Stewart C Crawford Jr.

Stewart C Crawford Jr.


I have no case law either, this issue of cert mail arises in a variety of contexts. Its handled on a case by case basis. I believe there if fed law and law in Delaware that deem a refusal as constructive receipt


Not entirely sure, but a district justice may find the refusal as good service or meeting the service requirement. Also, if you did not send another duplicate letter out by regular mail, you can do that. IF it is not returned by the PO as not a good address, then that is further/additional proof of service which will make your case stronger.

Landlord-tenant topics

Recommended articles about Landlord-tenant

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer