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Re: Landlord refuses to return Security Deposit

Posted by TenantNet on December 30, 1996 at 23:08:25:

In Reply to: Landlord refuses to return Security Deposit posted by Roland on December 30, 1996 at 18:09:34:

: My new roommate recently moved here from Chicago and sublet from a woman for about 6 months. The landlady is now refusing to return the Security Deposit of $600 for no apparent reason. (My friend opened the telephone bill when it arrived and paid her portion which angered the landlady as a violation of privacy.)
: There was no written agreement. Does my friend have any recourse? Mind you, she cannot afford to pay the new security deposit before she gets the old one back--must act quickly!

Check our web page for Illinois law, but I would suspect the owner
must give a written reason for not returning the deposit. The tenant
should be able to prove the place was left in good condition when
she left and have photos or witnesses in anticipation of the owner's
cooking up some excuses. This happens all the time and is precisely why
we know many tenants fail to pay the last month's rent -- to get back the
deposit. This may be contrary to the lease but it puts the shoe on the
other foot. Tenants should leve the place clean except for normal
wear and tear (for which owners may not deduct from the deposit), they
should have witnesses and take photos, especially of any items the
owner claims is damaged. Tenants should also ask owners to do a walk-
through where both sides agree in writing as to what is and what is not
damaged. If they don't agree, then take photos. Generally a state's
Attorney General office will handle these complaints, or you can go
to small claims court where the burden will be on the owner to prove
damages exist. But the burden might also be on the tenant to prove these
"damages" were there when she moved in or are part of normal wear and tear.

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