Real Estate Law (esp. Landlord-Tenant)/Refusal to return security deposit


I rented a house for my two sons off campus while they were attending college last year.  I paid $1000 security deposit and the house they rented was less than desirable, but it was a last minute decision to rent and not stay on campus.  When we moved them in it took several hours to clean the house, it was filthy.  Well, make a long story short, they moved out on May 19th 2013 and it is now August 1st, and the landlord still has not sent security deposit back or has not given us a itemized list of deductions she intended on taking from the security deposit. We have called, texted and emailed several times and she never responded. I sent her a certified letter stating she had 30 days from the time they moved out to send the security dep. back or give a written notice of deductions or she forfeits the entire security deposit and since she did neither she had 14 days to send the security dep, back in full or I would take her to small claims court, and I was able to sue for double the amount of the deposit, It's been 3.5 weeks and she still has not given the deposit back.  My question is, i believe I am right about suing for double the amount of the deposit, but would like that confirmed.  Also, is there any other steps I need to take before filing claim against her? I live in the Pittsburgh PA area.  Thanks for you help!

Hi Carole,

I am not sure about the PA security deposit law. You can check that here:

At least in CA, the landlord must provide an itemized security deposit statement, along with a return of any security deposit balance, after the tenant moves out of the property. It would seem justifiable that you could take the landlord to small claims court for a court decision regarding the security deposit.

Make sure you have receipts for cleaning/repairs.

Thanks for your question.

David Piotrowski
Attorney at Law

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Real Estate Law (esp. Landlord-Tenant)

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David Piotrowski, Esq.


My landlord/tenant practice primarily assists California landlords with all aspects of the landlord/tenant relationship including leases, contract violations, non-payment of rent, and evictions. I can also advise, on a more general level, other real property issues.


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