Landlord did not return tenant's security deposit
Lee: I used a realtor for a rental property about 18 months ago. I used her also as my realtor to break the lease to purchase a new home. We went through that process, we purchased a new home. I've been out of the rental home now for almost 60 days. And we still have not received my deposit back for the balance of the remaining last month's rent.
Attorney Tom Olsen: Okay, so Bill, you were a tenant, excuse me, Lee; you were a tenant.
Lee: That's right.
Attorney Tom Olsen: And did you tell me that you broke the lease?
Lee: Yes, my realtor and I have an agreement, and it's a written agreement, that if we broke the lease, using her as my realtor to find a new home, then there would be no penalty.
Attorney Tom Olsen: And how much is your deposit?
Lee: My deposit was 1,250. I'm sorry; 1,175 and the monthly rent was 1,175 and we moved out on the 10th.
Attorney Tom Olsen: I know that your realtor agreed to this, but did the actual property owner agree to this?
Lee: Yes, it was in the lease agreement; all of this was in the lease agreement when we originally signed.
Attorney Tom Olsen: So you broke your lease but you legally had a right to do so within the body of your lease, it says so.
Lee: That's correct--
Attorney Tom Olsen: All right.
Lee: --As long as I used my realtor as my purchasing real estate.
Attorney Tom Olsen: So Lee, the Florida law would say that within 30 days of moving out, your landlord was obligated to give you written notice by certified mail of your landlord's intention to hold on to some or all of your deposit. Failing to do so, they have lost the right to make any claim against your deposit. Did your landlord know what your new address was?
Lee: Yes they do, because she, again, the property manager-- the realtor that was running as a property manager, she's the one that helped me find my new home and helped me purchase the new home.
Attorney Tom Olsen: So Lee, where is Malabar, what part of Florida is that in?
Lee: It's just up of Melbourne.
Attorney Tom Olsen: Okay. So Lee, Rob Soleman is a lawyer at my office; he does landlord-tenant work. Lee, if you want to call Rob next week, you can talk to him about pursuing this case for you. If the facts are as you stated, any landlord-tenant attorney would love to take on your case because, Lee, sounds like it's a slam-dunk win, plus Florida Statutes say that you will be entitled to attorney's fees in court cost, so Rob would love to pursue this case for you, or talk to any landlord-tenant attorney in the Melbourne area.