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Can I Get My Security Deposit Back in Court?

Wheeling, IL |

I just moved September 30. My rent was $750 a month and I gave a $750 deposit when I moved in. My landlord let me pay $400 for the last months rent. He gave me a reduction of $350 and took it off of my security deposit. He said when I move out he'd give me the remaining $400 of the security deposit. This was a verbal agreement and not written. The day I moved out he didn't have the $400. He said I would get the check in th mail in 2 weeks. It has almost been a month. I told him if I don't recieve the $400 within 30 days I am filing in court to get it back. I am filing in court on November 1st if I don't recieve the check in the mail. Will I have trouble getting the $400 back in court since it was a verbal agreement? I have a copy of the money order for last months' rent of $400.

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Attorney answers 1


It doesn't appear that there is a legitimate reason for the landlord to keep the remainder of your deposit, so you should be able to get it back. That said, court isn't a walk in the park, even small claims court. It will take substantial time to learn how to proceed in court and you will have to pay for filing and service. It is best if you try to just convince the landlord to pay.

That said, if you lived in a building with 5 or more units the Illinois Security Return Act will apply. If the Act applies, your job will be much easier because you can hire a lawyer and the landlord will have to pay the attorney fees, costs and a penalty when you win. If the act doesn't apply, you are stuck with a breach of contract claim that does not have fee shifting.

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