I and 3 other tenants lived at this residence for a year and recently moved out; we had an extremely thorough moveout walkthrough with the landlord and everything was perfect. one week later the landlord contacts us saying we broke a window and hence as deducted 125 each from our security deposit. We did not break that window. What is the best option for us to recoup funds, I dont have her address I only have her number and name.
From my own research we'd have to take this to small claims court but since i dont know her address i can't send her a certify demand for money back, only text messages which she has declined to reply to.
1 Answer from Attorneys
1. Use landlord-tenant court if you have one after Serving her at the property address worst case scenario. She owns the property so that is a valid place of business for Service. Can also check property records at your Town to see possible other addresses. Back yourself up by using 'nail and mail' Service of Process. There, you have someone NOT a party to the action, such as a friend (why waste money on a Process Service for $600$), deliver it to the property, Fill out and Notarize an Affidavit of Service to bring to court. Can just get a blank one on-line or at the courthouse when you go in-very simple form.
2. Hopefully you paid by check-check the cashed check. If she co-mingled the escrow funds, as many landlords do, even IF you DID do what she said, although you hopefully have proof such as photos and at least your co-tenants all stating the same thing, she can't keep the security deposit. The security deposit is supposed to be held in a separate account in trust for the tenant(s).
Hope this helps.