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Can I still claim unreturned security deposit after cashing a check that says full payment?

Valley Stream, NY |

I did not cash the check yet, just wondering if I can. Landlord returned a fraction of the security deposit and is making statements in her outline that are false for withholding. I can prove each one but the money that was returned, can I still cash although it says full payment? I already opened the case, but it was opened after the check was sent and therefore has a earlier date. A letter was sent a letter asking if I can please cash the check. I see this as a red flag.

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Attorney answers 3


You should not cash the check until you appear in court.


Dear Valley Stream Tenant:

Hire an attorney. Cashing the check is a "settlement."

Because the landlord is holding on to your money, you are right about proving her false statements, but you have the right to do that when you sue for the full return of the security deposit.

Of course, being right, is never a guarantee of success, and Small Claims Court, is still a court. If you have evidence of the condition of the home when you moved out, that should be enough.

If you mean you already have started the Small Claims Court case, then I expect that you would consider full settlement all that you sued for.

Good luck,

The answer provided to you is in the nature of general information. The general proposition being that you should try to avoid a bad outcome if you can.


Do not cash or deposit the check or you will give the landlord a defense called satisfaction and accord.

I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been doing criminal defense work for over 16 years. I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012 and 2013. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. Martindale-Hubbell has given me its highest rating - AV Preeminent - in the areas of Criminal Law, Personal Injury, and Litigation. According to Martindale-Hubbell”AV Preeminent is a significant rating accomplishment - a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence." Fewer than 8% of attorneys achieve an AV Preeminent rating. I also have the highest ranking – “superb” – on Avvo. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me. The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.

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