What are my rights as a tenant as far as my security deposit goes?
5 attorney answers
You should consult with an attorney before you do anything further. Violations of the security deposit statute can provide multiple damages and attorneys' fees for failure to comply and are often handled on a contingency basis. I provide initial consultations for these types of cases at no charge.
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If she did not put your deposit in an interest bearing account, then you may be entitled to up to three times that security deposit. You also may be entitled to attorney's fees should you decide to hire an attorney to pursue this matter.
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Did you have any pictures of when you moved in or moved out? These pictures would help you prove that your apartment was in the same condition. I would suggest that you contact a Landlord/Tenant Attorney to help you. I assume that it would not cost a lot of money to have the attorney to send a letter to your former landlord.
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Hire an attorney familar with landlord/tenant laws. He or she will then send your landlord a 30 day demand under 93A. Your landlord must return the entire deposit within 30 days given the information you provided.
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You won this at the point where she never put your deposit in an interest-bearing escrow account. You may be entitled to up to triple your security deposit in damages for that alone. The burden was on her to deliver a receipt to you within thirty days of move-in, stating where the deposit was being kept.
If you don't receive a check and an accounting tomorrow, she forfeits her right to claim any damages, ever. If she doesn't fork over your deposit, you can go to court and get triple damages, attorney's fees, and costs.
Mass Legal Help has some excellent resources on this at http://www.masslegalhelp.org/housing/private-housing/ch3-security-deposits-and-last-months-rent. Also, don't be shy about contacting an attorney if the demand letter isn't immediately fruitful. Since a successful claim will entitle you to claim attorney's fees from the landlord, you may not have to pay anything out of pocket.
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