What are my options regarding an unreturned security deposit?

Asked by D P, Hoboken, NJ Fri Jan 23, 2009

I am having difficulty receiving my security deposit returned from a NJ realtor. I provided adequate 30 day notice via email and registered return receipt mail and moved out on November 24th. After several requests via email, phone calls, and appearances in their office, I have not received my deposit of $2962.50 returned to me. I have received excuse after excuse from their office.

This is causing me a great deal of stress, especially given the fact that I am seven months pregnant.

I am really in a desperate situation. Could you please point me in the right direction with this? I don’t have any money for attorneys fees and would just like my money back with as little cost as possible.

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William Leigh…, , New Jersey
Fri Jan 23, 2009
D P: Small claims court. No Attorney needed. You represent yourself. Name the agency and the landlord both in your complaint.

If the agency has the deposit, you might also notify the real estate commission but often if they were just the listing agent for a landlord, they may have turned it over to him/her after the lease was contracted.

Since you’ve gotten the run around, I wouldn’t waste any more time. The agency should be able to handle this within 24 hours, even if it is just to tell you to go directly to the landlord.

By the way, I believe it is a law violation to fail to notify you of where the money was deposited and to identify any interest gained from that account. It is, I also believe, a matter of law that ANY security deposit which is not fully accounted for within 30 days of the termination of the lease is subject to a fee to be paid to the tenant of DOUBLE the amount of the deposit. Since the deposit is USUALLY six week’s rent, you may have just put yourself in line for about three month’s worth of rental money to end up in your pocket. The court, and there’s one in every county, is a much more efficient debt collector than you can imagine. It may be as fast as "what's in your wallet" to the person(s) found at fault, that very day, right in the courtroom. I've seen it happen. It may not be that fast but the court surely gets its man (or woman) unless they flee the state and even then, I’m not so sure they don’t get them anyway.

Best wishes to you and the soon to be offspring.
0 votes
John Sacktig, Agent, New Jersey, NJ
Fri Jan 23, 2009
Hi D P -

As Gina stated, why would you look for your security deposit from a realtor?
There needs to be more information as to why you expect the realtor to return your deposit to you.

John Sacktig
Broker / Manager
Office: 732-863-6969
Cell: 732-213-1409
0 votes
Laura Gianno…, Agent, Manahawkin, NJ
Fri Jan 23, 2009
Call New Jersey Legal Services at 888-576-5529, the New Jersey Tenants Organization at 201-342-3775 or the Department of the Public Advocate at 609-826-5057. All three of these agencies handle problems like your, and can advise you at no cost to you.

Laura Giannotta
Keller Williams Atlantic Shore
0 votes
Gina Chirico, Agent, Fairfield, NJ
Fri Jan 23, 2009

I am unclear as to the situation. Was the NJ Realtor the owner of the rental property? If not, then the owner/landlord has your security deposit not the realtor. Who did you pay your rent to each month? Who did you give the notice to? the agent or the owner?

Gina Chirico, Sales Associate
Prudential NJ Properties
973-715-1158 cell
0 votes
Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Fri Jan 23, 2009
The executed contract signed will govern regarding return of deposit and within a XX amount days from you leaving the property. NOTE: Read the contract

I would also speak direct with broker prior to taking any action determine if you can resolve issues there. Power has knowledge terms and conditions contract rules all

Once you have determined what area(s) breach of contract you can report realtor to board, and broker. No matter what information forward certified return receipt confirms the realtor and broker have received notice. State that if you dont receive money within XX days you have no other choice turn this over too legal and realtors board file formal complaints.
Web Reference:  http://www.lynn911.com
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