Security Deposit Law in Philadelphia
Unfortunately, it often seems to be the rule – instead of the exception – that Landlords and Tenants are at odds. The landlord-tenant paradigm is such that both need one another and should theoretically be motivated to work together toward a mutually beneficial relationship. Yet, this is not always the case, as many Landlord-Tenant relationships are often adversarial, and the parties find themselves in court.
Sometimes tenants are miserable occupants. They make late rent payments, prove bothersome to neighbors, damage the property, etc. But other times, the fault lies with the landlord. Many feel they can operate their property however they choose, irrespective of law or contract.
They feel empowered as the owner of the property and, ignoring the rights of their tenants, hold that they must be subservient. But their feelings are in error. Tenants have rights under the law concerning the Landlord-Tenant relationship.
One of the many rights they possess is the right to return their security deposit. Too often, landlords try to avoid returning the security deposit, coming up with every conceivable reason to hold onto the tenant’s money and increase their revenue. Do not just sit back and let your former landlord keep your money.
Pennsylvania Security Deposit Law
The law under P.C.S. Section 250.512 provides requirements for both the Landlord and Tenant concerning security deposits. First, let’s address your primary responsibility as the tenant. You must provide your landlord with written notice of your new address upon termination of your prior contract. The landlord is not responsible for investing resources to track you down.
If you fail to meet this obligation, you will constructively relieve your landlord of their obligation to return these funds. If you are worried about providing this written notice, we would be happy to help you.
Regarding the landlord’s responsibilities, they are required to provide you with an itemized written accounting for any damages for which they are holding you liable within 30 days of either the termination of the lease or your surrender of the property. They must include the remainder of the security deposit beyond actual damages with this listing.
Suppose the landlord fails to provide this list and the remainder of the deposit within the prescribed 30-day time frame. In that case, they forfeit their right to withhold any portion of the deposit or to bring suit against the tenant for damages to the property.
The tenant, however, may bring suit and do so for double damages – that is, double the security deposit amount. It will fall on the landlord to prove damages to the property. This is unique in that the burden shifts from the plaintiff to the defendant in these cases.
Philadelphia Landlord Lawyer expects you to give up. They know that suit requires both time and money on the tenant’s part, and they try to exploit this fact. Let us help you teach them a lesson. If you are owed part or all of your Security Deposit, The Law Offices of Greg Prosmushkin, P.C. can help.