Legal Question in Real Estate Law in North Carolina

Can my previous realtor demand money after returning my deposit with a statement saying everything was left in good condition? It has been 3 months since I moved after my lease ended and they are just now calling demanding money from. Also they are calling my employer saying that I destroyed their condo and giving me a bad name. Are they breaking any privacy laws?

Asked on 6/05/13, 12:32 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

This sounds like your prior landlord, not a realtor. No, the prior landlord cannot contact your employer.

If you received your security deposit back and if you left the property in good condition, did you do a move-out inspection and take pictures showing how you left the place? If not, it will be your word against the landlord's.

I do not understand how the landlord could return your deposit and say the place was fine and then turn around and claim damages. Something is not right. If you have proof (pictures), then I would write to the landlord (don't mention the pictures) and send a copy of the letter saying the property was fine. Demand that they stop calling your employer and tell that if they don't you will seek legal counsel. Ask them to investigate this matter and find out why they are doing this as you don't believe you owe. Ask for an itemized damage statement if the landlord believes otherwise.

Ask for a response in 30 days or less, Keep a copy of the letter and send via certified mail, return receipt requested, and see what happens.

Landlords have 30 days to give you a damage statement IF they know your forwarding address. Otherwise, its 6 months. If there really was a mistake (I can't see how they could miss something like this for 3 months) and depending on what is on the itemized damage statement, you might after you receive it offer something if you really are liable for the damage caused. But if you acted properly and gave a forwarding address, the landlord had 30 days - the law has a saying - "those who slumber on their rights lose them." You might want to cite the NC statute about this; see below, assuming the rental unit/lease was in NC:

42‑52. Landlord's obligations.

Upon termination of the tenancy, money held by the landlord as security may be applied as permitted in G.S. 42‑51 or, if not so applied, shall be refunded to the tenant. In either case the landlord in writing shall itemize any damage and mail or deliver same to the tenant, together with the balance of the security deposit, no later than 30 days after termination of the tenancy and delivery of possession of the premises to the landlord. If the extent of the landlord's claim against the security deposit cannot be determined within 30 days, the landlord shall provide the tenant with an interim accounting no later than 30 days after termination of the tenancy and delivery of possession of the premises to the landlord and shall provide a final accounting within 60 days after termination of the tenancy and delivery of possession of the premises to the landlord. If the tenant's address is unknown the landlord shall apply the deposit as permitted in G.S. 42‑51 after a period of 30 days and the landlord shall hold the balance of the deposit for collection by the tenant for at least six months. The landlord may not withhold as damages part of the security deposit for conditions that are due to normal wear and tear nor may the landlord retain an amount from the security deposit which exceeds his actual damages.

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Answered on 6/05/13, 1:05 pm

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