Posted by DK on September 03, 1999 at 15:28:20:
In Reply to: SCAMMED OUT OF SECURITY DEPOSIT: PLEASE ADVISE posted by PAUL on September 02, 1999 at 16:31:59:
: MY LANDLORD FOUND IT IN HIS BEST INTEREST TO ENTER MY DWELLING WITH NO INVITATION OR NOTICE OR NEED FOR EMERGENCY 4 DAYS BEFORE MY LEASE WAS UP TO CLEAN A SMALL EFFICIENCY APARTMENT AND CHARGE ME $240 OUT OF A $250 DEPOSIT. DO I HAVE ANY RIGHTS TO PROHIBIT THIS. HE ALSO HAD ENOUGH TIME TO INFORM ME OF THE ACTIONS HE WAS GOING TO TAKE AND GIVE ME A CHANCE TO RESOLVE THE MATTERS THAT HE WAS PLANNING ON CHARGING ME FOR. I LIVE IN PA AND IS THERE ANY FEDERAL OR STATE LAWS THAT I CAN USE TO RECTIFY THIS MATTER POSSIBLY AT THE MAGISTRATES OR AM I OUT OF THE MONEY. I WILL THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR HELP.
I really do not know what the law is in Pennsylvania. The main page of TenantNet may have a link to a Pennsylvania tenants organization which would be able to give you better advice.
You should read the fine print of the lease. It may give the landlord the right to do what he has done, but I don't know whether it would be enforceable in PA.
Usually the tenant is not responsible for "reasonable wear and tear" on the apartment. Also, the apartment does not have to be returned in pristine condition, but only "broom clean." And of course, you have until the end of the term to clean it up unless you formally surrendered possession earlier (perhaps by turning in the keys and saying your not coming back.)
If the landlord were wrong, I would advise a NY tenant to sue in small claims court. Many states (but not NY) give triple damages when a landlord wrongfully withholds a security deposit. This is a powerful bargaining tool to use to get the proper refund without suing.
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