I signed a one year lease for an apartment. I wanted to move elsewhere and new renters were found. At the end of my one year lease, I was removed from the lease and the tenants signed a new lease.
I paid a security deposit for my pets which was to be returned to me when the occupying tenants moved out.
They have since moved out, but I did not receive my pet deposit. The property was sold and is now run by a new owner. The entire deposit, my pet deposit included, was sent to the other tenants. I am told that I must contact them to get my deposit back. This is not what the written agreement was with the previous owner.
Who do I get my money from? Is this legal?
You should have received your deposit refund and a written explanation detailing any debits taken from the refund within one month of being removed from the lease. You have a potential claim against your landlord (the previous owner) that may entitle you to a monetary award for double damages, plus attorney fees. More information is required to determine the strength of your claim. Your rights may have been modified by the subsequent written agreement to which you refer.
You will want to discuss this matter with an experienced landlord-tenant attorney as soon as possible. Be sure to bring all written documents to a consultation, or email them ahead of time. You do not mention the specifics of the timeline involved, and these things often get more difficult to resolve with the passage of time, so you really should act fast. You might want to call the Oregon State Bar for a referral to a lawyer near you: 800-452-7636.
DISCLAIMER: I am not your attorney until you 1) sign a fee agreement with me, and 2) pay a retainer pursuant to said agreement. The response given does not create an attorney-client relationship. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in Oregon (attorney has resigned in good standing from the Arizona bar and may be reinstated upon application).
I am always helping tenants in this same problem - your landlord had an obligation to return that money to you, or to give you a written accounting under ORS 90.300. Since your landlord did neither, my law firm may be able to force the landlord to give you TWICE the amount of your deposit. Give me a call at (503) 592-0606 to discuss.
Only two things to add to the excellent answers given above.
1) Claims under LL/T law have a very short one-year statute of limitations. You do not say when your lease ended, but your time to file to recover is limited.
2) I'm an attorney in Corvallis who represents tenants and would be glad to help.
Licensed in Oregon. Answers provided for informational use only and are not legal advice. Advice provided is general information only. No attorney/client relationship is created unless and until we have met and entered into a written representation agreement. Feel free to contact me at www.MaugerLaw.com if you need to discuss your matter further.
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