landlady not returning deposit

12 Replies

Hi,I am a student just graduated from school residing at NJ.My landlady gave me a notice of 30 days to vacate the house.We I meant me and my roomates vacated the same.I messaged her too that I have vacated the place and also cleaned it,when I asked about the security deposit she is not responding on the same.And she has not taken the keys from us.What should I do,its really a big amount she has with her.

@Sandra Shaji That is terrible. Sorry you are going through this. I would search the New Jersey Landlord Tenant laws and see what your rights are as a tenant. 

Our state in FL mandates that if we want to give all the money back, we have 15 days, but if we intend to impose a claim, we must do so within 30 days. Each state is different. I wish you the best of luck. 

@Sandra Shaji The first meeting with most good real estate attorneys is FREE. I would send her correspondence via CERTIFIED MAIL that you are asking for the deposit to be returned, via the NJ tenant laws, and then say that you will follow up with an attorney next. 

The certified mail comes back to you with verification she saw it and builds your case against her. Take pictures, document what you did in the property, have a case to take action, if it goes that far. Protect yourselves. 

The question is: what is the legal time frame for her notice of intent to impose a claim or send a refund. In FL, for example, the landlord has 15 days to return the deposit if they are not making a claim. Did you give her a forwarding address?

when did you move out? if you just recently left, and it is no longer occupied, you may consider going back and taking photos as proof it is clean and not damaged. this should have been done before you left, and the legality of doing it now may be questionable.

you may need to do some research here, but typically landlord needs to return statement outlining deductions from deposit within 30 days. if they do not, you are entitled to sue for the entire deposit. in some states you may sue for triple damages.

if she has exceeded her timeframe for giving you a statement of deposit, send her a certified letter demanding return of the deposit and clearly outline which law she has broken. if she has nto passed her timeframe, wait until she does.

@Jack Bobeck     Thanks for your help,what should I do with the keys as she is not collected the keys of the house from us,suppose if I  file a case against her and if she claims that I did some damage to the property then it will be difficult for me as there is just pictures which we have after moving out of the place nothing else to prove the same.

@Andrew Boettcher I moved out on Oct 30,we have taken the pictures,video of the house after moving out and also sent it to her on Whatsapp,she saw all of them still no reply.As per NJ law,landlord has to return the security deposit within 30 days.The main problem is she is not even coming to collect the keys so if I file a case she can claim on this point right that I have not returned the keys.Her daughter stays in the basement.Should I return the keys to her as she was the one who used to collect the rent from us.And based on my research the house is going on foreclosure sale on NOv 16.So will this affect me ?.

You've moved out October 30th.  Your landlord has 30 days to provide your information regarding the status of your security deposit.  You can do nothing legally in terms of demanding this deposit, file a claim for such, etc. until this time period has passed.

If you're worried about returning the keys, leave them with the daughter and get a receipt that you have returned them.

Make certain you have provided your landlord with your new address so she knows where to send the information regarding the status of your security deposit.


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