Being Sued by Tenant

66 Replies

My tenant in Chicago send a claim from a lawyer, stating I owe 27 thousand dollars in damages for not returning the complete security deposit.  The security deposit was 10 thousand dollars, she did not pay the last months rent, so 6550 was left. I charged 2,600 for repairs and damages, and sent receipts and pictures. I did not return the money from where the account is being held, and I did not return interest. It was an oversight from my part, but for 2600 I being sued for 27 thousand.....

Any way to approach this.?

Any recommendations on should I get a lawyer??

Nothing of value to add but I hope it goes well for you 

the first step is to determine fi you followed your state laws in returning the deposit. if state laws were followed, then show up in court and present your evidence. if you missed a small step, or did something incorrectly, you can consider negotiating a few thousand dollars to make them go away.

“He who represents himself has a fool for a client”

~Abraham Lincoln

Best of Luck.

Thanks Joe Marshall!

Alicia,

Good Advice!

Typical lawyer tactic: hit 'em for $1 million and hope they settle for $50,000.

A claim letter is not a law suit.  It is the opening play in negotiations.  Given that $27,000 (plus legal costs of defense) are on the line, I'd spend $100 or whatever to get 30 minutes of time with a local, experienced, land lord/tenant attorney to lay out your facts and see if there's any merit to the claim.  If yes, offer a settlement.  If not, send them a hammer and a jar of sand with a note that says, "Pound it."

Ask another lawyer what are your choices. The deposit is not meant for withholding no damage related claims, if I understand correctly. The last month rent should be collected separately unless the tenant express wanting to collect from security deposit.

@Sam Shueh

Yes since the tenant did not pay last months rent, she agreed to have this withdrawn from last months rent. The damages was separate that we noted

@Andrew Boettcher

Our mistake was we held a security deposit in bank on the lease, but sent the return of security deposit from a different bank, and we did not pay the interest.  

I just have never been sued before from a tenant, and just shocked its 10 times what the dispute is over!

My vote is for the hammer and jar of sand

@Rick M.

In Chicago there seems to be a lot more tenant lawyers then landlords!

@Brie Schmidt

Yes I made that mistake, I didn't realize it because the tenant  was there for 2 years,  I was suppose to pay every 12 months... 27K vs 2.6K just seems unfair... but I don't know.

Any lawyer suggestions you can PM me?

@Frank Romine

I think I will be selling this rental, and rethink being a landlord again

Check your local laws. In MA tenant can sue up to 3x deposit if you do not place into an account. Good luck.

Plenty of pitfalls in this business especially when dealing with indivulaes looking to make a quick buck. Turn it over to your lawyer and have them respond. At this point you simply wait it out.

I have received numerious letters from tennats lawyer and simply throw them in th egarbage (put in tennats file) but in this case better safe than sorry.

@Thomas S.

Thanks....Never realized how bad chicago tenants law was....

@A.R Shakir just curious, what was the rent per month given the security deposit was 10k? 

@Kimberly H. The rent was 3550, the tenants credit score was very low and recently claimed foreclosure. I was hesitant with this tenant, but my realtor felt she would be great fit 😢

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