SECURITY DEPOSITS

If your landlord kept your security deposit after the end of your tenancy, we would be interested in talking with you about your options for getting it back.

Almost no landlord, big or small, ever complies with the security deposit law in Massachusetts. Massachusetts is a very tenant-friendly state. The security deposit law is strong, and the courts require strict compliance.

A security deposit is the tenant’s property. Unless the landlord follows the law to the letter, they cannot keep it. The legal requirements are so difficult to meet that we advise our landlord clients not to bother with a security deposit at all. Many landlords accept security deposits regardless, and many routinely keep them in violation of the law.

Landlords (or their property managers) often go through a few motions to pretend to comply with the law. They may send a former tenant a document that seems to explain why they are keeping all or part of the security deposit. A typical violation is a deduction by the landlord for ‘sprucing up’ the property after the tenant leaves. A security deposit cannot be used for that – it is only for damage done to the property beyond ordinary wear and tear. This is just one example. There are many other reasons in the law that would not allow a landlord to keep a security deposit.

If your former landlord kept all or part of your security deposit, the law offers you strong protection. In many cases, a landlord who does this is liable to you for three times the amount of the security deposit, plus reasonable attorney’s fees and costs of suit.

Dealing with a stubborn landlord through the court system is a challenge in itself. That is where we come in. The protections offered by the security deposit law make it possible for us to sue landlords, if necessary, regardless of the amount of the security deposit, and recover our legal fees and costs through the court.

Our process begins with a written demand on the landlord. Some landlords are sensible enough to realize that they should resolve the case at that stage, before a lawsuit is filed against them and the legal fees and costs increase. Many are not so smart, however.

If the landlord does not want to make a deal, we sue them and seek a lien against their property. We don’t care. We are happy to educate them at the school of hard knocks. Most cases are resolved prior to trial: either the landlord sees the light, or we get a court judgment. If a landlord refuses to pay a judgment, we seek to sell their property with a sheriff’s sale and get paid that way.

We are accepting clients who:

  1. Had written lease for residential property in Massachusetts;

  2. Paid a security deposit to their landlord, and have written proof of this payment;

  3. Paid all rent due under the lease, and have written proof of the rent payments;

  4. Did not receive their security deposit back after the end of the tenancy;

 

If you meet these requirements, it is likely that we would be able to accept your case with no money down and no fee unless successful. We may be able to accept your case if some of the requirements are not met – the most important is that all the rent was paid.

In these uncertain times, most people cannot afford to allow a landlord to take advantage of them. Let us help you get what you are owed.

 

Call (617) 523-0712 today for a free evaluation of your case.