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withheld security deposit

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bmiller33

Junior Member
What is the name of your state?What is the name of your state? district of columbia

issue: I rented a house in DC with two friends - we each moved in at different times, and gave the landlord security deposits of $875.00 each. We all moved out within a month's time of each other. Roommate one moved out July 31. I moved out Aug. 15, and roommate two moved out Aug. 31. In several oral conversations with the landlord, he told us we could moved out in that manner and that we each would be responsible for the portion of the rent consistent with how long we stayed (and that the remaining roommates would not be responsible for the difference). The other two roommates signed a lease, I never did. The lease required 30 days written notice. Roommate one, gave oral notice, but no written notice and he paid in full through july 2005. I paid for half the month of August. The other roommate paid in full for August. The landlord accepted all our checks and despoited them, and despite seeing him on a near daily basis in August (as he was trying to rent the place). he never mentioned to anyone any problems with our rent checks.

However, this week, he returned our security deposits, and he withheld from the security deposit $875 for Aug. rent for roommate 1's failure to provide 30 days notice; he withheld $438 for the second half of Aug. rent for my alleged faillure to pay; and he withheld late chagres for the rent.

I have two questions: 1) does the landlord's repeated oral statements to us that we could proceed in the manner we did trump roommate one's obligation for 30 days written notice, and does the landlord have an obligation to notify us if we did in fact owe him Aug. rent?

and second,for my situation, where he is claiming I owed him for the rest of August, does his acceptance of my check, and deposit of that check, act as a waiver and acceptance on his behalf?

sorry this is so long - thanks for any advice.
 


longneck

Member
bmiller33 said:
does the landlord's repeated oral statements to us that we could proceed in the manner we did trump roommate one's obligation for 30 days written notice, and does the landlord have an obligation to notify us if we did in fact owe him Aug. rent?
no, and definitely no. if the lease or law says written notice, then you must give written notice. no way around that. (and here comes the part you're really not going to like) and just because you failed to give proper notice and failed to properly pay your rent on time does not mean your LL has to inform you that you still owe rent.
and second,for my situation, where he is claiming I owed him for the rest of August, does his acceptance of my check, and deposit of that check, act as a waiver and acceptance on his behalf?
no, because you knew the rent you handed him was only for half the month.
 

bmiller33

Junior Member
longneck said:
no, and definitely no. if the lease or law says written notice, then you must give written notice. no way around that. (and here comes the part you're really not going to like) and just because you failed to give proper notice and failed to properly pay your rent on time does not mean your LL has to inform you that you still owe rent.

no, because you knew the rent you handed him was only for half the month.

but in my situation, i never signed a lease, he had adequate notice i was leaving aug. 15, he told me on numerous occasions i only had to pay through aug. 15, he accepted my check without comment that it should have been for more - i don't see how he has any ground to claim i owe him the remainder of the month? i wasn't withholding the rest of the rent - i was doing what he told me to do.
 

longneck

Member
if you do not have a written lease and you LL was accepting payment from you as "rent" on a monthly, then you are automatically a month-to-month renter with a verbal lease. the law requires a 30 written notice to terminate a month-to-month lease. it doesn't matter if the LL knew, or even if the LL says it was ok, that you were leaving on the 15th. since you did not provide written notice, he is within his right to demand up to 30 days of rent from the date you vacated the apartment. ya, it sucks, but in this case he has the law on his side.
 

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