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Stolen deposit

My daughter and husband rented a house, and had two roommates who were not on the lease. They decided to move in back home and the roommates were going to sign a new lease for the house. We discussed this with landlord and roomies who were given until January 1 to come up with deposit. In the meantime, landlord gave notice she wanted house back for herself. Unbeknownst to my daughter and SIL roomies did not pay December rent. Landlord contacted roomies (not leasee) and offered to keep deposit in lieu of rent. Roomies agreed and lived there free with no ones knowledge until we moved remaining possessions out and turned over keys to landlord. When we asked for deposit, we were shown text messages between landlord and roomies. My daughter and her husband had no idea, and I got robbed of (my) deposit money. Yes, young kids who have learned a valuable lesson. Roomies knew it was not there money to take, and landlord was way wrong to not contact my daughter but correct in keeping the deposit for unpaid rent. Does she have grounds for legal or criminal action for theft or fraud? We have copy of all texts.
1 Comment

David, unless the lease specifically states that the deposit will be relinquished to the original leasee, there is nothing legally binding to get your deposit back.  The lease MUST be very clear with how deposits are paid and returned.  However, this would be a good case to take to Small Claims Court.  I would look over the original lease from your Daughter and go from there.  The really important thing to ensure of is that all parties signed or initialed relevant pages of the lease and that includes the Landlord's.  Most states require Landlords to provide signed copies to the leasees within 3 business days.  Check your state's laws. Good luck
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