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Lawyer for Landlord Tenant Security Deposits in Bucks County
The Landlord-Tenant Relationship is a unique one. While on its face, it is a purely business relationship, often times disputes between landlords and tenants can get personal. While the idea of the Landlord-Tenant Relationship is one that should be mutually beneficial, tensions and disagreements create a shift to a more complex and contested relationship.
Many Landlord-Tenant relationships can lead to an adversarial undertaking. Late rent payments, disturbing neighbors, damaging the property, and out-right failures to pay rent are often causes of frustration for the landlord, and can create a hostile environment. But the fault is not always with the tenants alone.
Many landlords can only see the bright line idea of an investment and profit, and are blinded to the responsibilities that go along with their side of the deal. Whether deliberately or without fully understanding their responsibilities, they disregard the law, and develop a sense of empowerment over their tenants, as they own the property, and therefore believe can choose what they allow or disallow.
Fortunately for tenants, the law is on your side. The law in Pennsylvania governs what landlords are allowed or disallowed to do. One of the areas of the law more commonly invoked surrounds the return of security deposits.
Most often, landlords feel as if they can get away with Withholding the Deposit, considering it theirs as soon as they receive it. Landlords come up with far-fetched reasons why they should withhold the deposit, or just fail to return to the deposit altogether. While sometimes retaining some or all of the deposit is necessary, landlords still must adhere to the law and the requirements in Bucks County and the surrounding counties.
The Law in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is governed by the Landlord-Tenant Act of 1951 under P.C.S.A Section 250.512. The Act provides requirements for both the landlord and tenant with respect to security deposits. As a tenant, it is your responsibility to provide your previous landlord with a forwarding address. Until you do that, the Landlord has no obligation to chase after you to give you back your deposit. But once you give the landlord your new address, the clock is on for him or her to act.
Under the law, a landlord must provide the tenant with his or her deposit or an itemized list identifying any deductions to the Security Deposit within thirty (30) days from when the date when the tenant vacates or provides the landlord with his or her new address. He or she must include with this listing the remainder of the security deposit beyond actual damages.
If the landlord fails to provide this list and the remainder of the deposit within the prescribed 30-day time frame, then he or she forfeits his or her right to withhold any portion of the deposit, or to bring suit against the tenant for damages to the property. The tenant may then file a lawsuit to recoup his or her Security Deposit, and is entitled to see double damages - that is double the amount of the security deposit. It will fall on the landlord to prove damages to the property. This is a unique situation where the burden shifts from the plaintiff to the defendant. Landlords expect you to give up and walk away. They know that bringing a lawsuit costs both time and money on the tenant's part, and rely on this fact. Let us help you teach them a lesson. If you are owed all or part of your security deposit, The Law Offices of Greg Prosmushkin, P.C. can help. Call today to schedule a free consultation.
This content was written on behalf of Greg Prosmushkin.