Legal Question in Landlord & Tenant Law in Massachusetts

my lease term ended and I moved out of my apartment. landlord wants to keep all 1700 security deposit claiming that the damages exceeded the deposit. I looked into law and I realized that the tenant should put the security deposit in an escrow account. However when I checked my bank documents, it was seen that he actually went to my bank and cashed my security deposit check, he also did not provide any receipt showing where he was keeping the deposit. After I realized this I wrote LL and told him that he forfeited his right to retain the deposit since he cashed the check and co-mingled with his own money. I also reminded him that he can not withold any part of it for damages since he violated the security deposit law and that I could sue him for triple damages if he does not give it to me. He said that he first deposited the check into his personal account and after it was cleared, he transferred it to an interest-bearing account. Up till now he did not provide any information regarding where he kept the money and when he deposited it to there. My first question is that if he could clear the check in his own account and then transfer money to another account? My understanding is that he already violated the law by mixing it with his account. Second question is that could I get triple damages if I sue him since he failed to give it to me when I asked nicely? thanks

Asked on 7/24/13, 4:40 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Jonas Jacobson Law Offices of Jonas Jacobson

I think you probably could. However, you might as well just hire an attorney to do it, since attorney's fees are also a component of the statute. Feel free to get in touch.

However, be aware that he may be able to "counterclaim" and seek damages from you, in return, if you really did do damage to the apartment - though he would bear the burden of proof on that point.

Jonas Jacobson

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Answered on 7/24/13, 5:01 pm

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