This is a priority debt your landlord now owes you. It will not be discharged in your bankruptcy, so if he doesn't pay you back, you can sue him. Section 507(a)(7) of the Bankruptcy Code provides that the following debt is not discharged in bankruptcy: Allowed unsecured claims of individuals, to the extent of $2,775(*) for each such individual, arising from the deposit, before the commencement of the case, of money in connection with the purchase, lease, or rental of property, or the purchase of services, for the personal, family, or household use of such individuals, that were not delivered or provided.
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Under 11 USC 507(a) 7 up to $2600 of your rent deposits are considered a priority and you will be paid before general unsecured creditors get anything. If it is an asset case there is a good chance you will be paid if you file a proof of claim and list your priority.
The answer above is for general information purposes only. You should talk to an attorney to determine your specific legal rights.
The deposit that he was holding was his property in name only. It should have been maintained separately from his true assets, the ones the trustee can take. Since he claims that his only tangible asset is his watch it means he used your money and you would be allowed to sue to get your asset returned. The chances of you seeing any of the money are, I'm afraid, pretty small. If he really is that broke he is the turnip from which you can get no blood.
Under Florida law (F.S. 83.49) the landlord had an obligation to either escrow the money or post a bond. The failure to abide by his legal obligations may constitute grounds to seek an exception from discharge under Sec 523(a)(4) or (6).
Posting questions anonymously and receiving general answers do not substitute for consulting with an attorney licensed to practice in the jurisdiction in which you live. Answers posted here by Kevin C Gleason are only intended for general education of the public on legal matters. Please consult a qualified professional before deciding what to do about your situation.
First, I respectfully disagree for reasons set forth or partially with my co attorneys. First, there is a separate issue from whether a debt is discharged vs whether you will be paid the monies back. With respect to receiving monies back, most cases (99%) are non asset cases meaning the unsecured creditors receive no monies back. YOu can file a proof of claim if you want..but you can call the court and ask if the trustee has filed a non asset report..if so, then dont expect to receive a dime unless your receive a notice from the court to file a proof of claim. However, you wont receive a notice if you are not listed (or mail is lost) so you can file a proof of claim ..simply done. If you do, file it as a priority claim as carefully explained in the other answers.however, a priority claim does NOT mean a non dischargeable claim. Now with respect to the dischargeabilty of the claim, the claim would fall in section 11 U.S.C. 523(a)(4) for "defalcation while acting in a fiduciary capacity"... it could also be argued the debt is not dischargeable for a "willful and malicous injury by the debtor to the property of yours..your deposit! However, on that exception , I believe you will have to prove subjective intent where as with the defalcation under subsection The landlord should have entered it into an account as required by Florida law but did not. HOWEVER, WHAT YOU MUST REALIZE IS YOU MUST SUE THE LANDLORD BEFORE THE CASE DEADLINE IN THE NOTICE YOU RECEIVE OR ELSE THE DEBT IS STILL DISCHARGED..AS SOME "NON-DISCHARGEABLE" DEBTS ARE IN FACT DISCHARGED UNLESS YOU SUE BY FILING AN ADVERSARY CASE BEFORE THE DEADLINE. 11 U.S..C 523(c)(1). You will have to call your clerk and see what the filing fee is. When you add up any filing fee, along with possibly attorney fees unless you try yourself (or free with a pro bono attorney if you can find one), you may in fact find it is not worth it as having a judgment..is NOT the same as collecting on it. Finally, if the landlord in fact did this with a number of persons, then it may be deemed a criminal act possibly in which you could probably report to your local authoritys as a crime. However, If I were you, if the debtor has an attorney, I would write to him or her and state you have a non dischargeable debt under subsection (a)(4) and (6) and intend to sue unless they agree to a stipulated order of non dischargeability if such an order can be filed in your court. Or you can state that you will give up your claim if filing an adversary proceeding in consideration for a payment of $..the amount which only you can decide what you are happy with..I might suggest if you receive $1,000 you may in fact be happy to save the other fees and costs. Please note that you should note you are NOT attempting to collect on a dischargeable debt but a nondischargeable debt proceeding and that it is not a violation of stay in resolving non dischargeable claims. By arguing just to be paid your self instead of through criminal proceedings in case there are others, you can at least receive some monies and not be concerned with others in your shoes who have not pursued legal advice. I hope my answers assist you...and you understand why obtaining good legal advice is always needed. Obtain if needed, advice from a bankruptcy attorney who has practiced there for a substantial number of years..not any rookie Is my personal advice so you are not paying an attorney to learn on you..or to recreate the wheel as they say. Good luck.
Ms. Larkin gives you a great answer. Follow her advice.
This is not legal advice and I am not your attorney until you retain my office. Always consult with an attorney in your area before acting on anything you read on the internet.