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Division of security deposits in roommate situations

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Division of security deposits in roommate situations

Postby joshcassan » Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:26 pm

I have the following question and I’d be grateful to get some insights from you:

My roommate and myself signed a one year lease a year ago. We were both listed as tenants on the rental contract. My roommate is moving back to Mexico City by the end of the month when our leasing contract will be over. Said this, we are asking to get our security deposit check issued to only one of the tenants. We contacted the building’s management and said they cannot do it and that the check will be issued to both tenants on the lease contract. They mentioned they can’t issue the check to only one tenant since the law prohibits this.

The issue that we have is that my roommate won’t come back to the US just to endorse the check. We feel that the building’s management attitude was not right, but we would like to understand if there’s a legitimate requirement by the law that wouldn’t allow them to help us with our request.

Thank you!
joshcassan
 
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Postby TenantNet » Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:34 pm

I know nothing in the law that prohibits this, but a LL would need to protect their interest in this. In their mind, what happens if they paid the deposit to you, and then the other roommate comes back later claiming his/her half?

The roommate leaving the US should write a letter signing over his portion of the security deposit to you (and any accrued interest). It would help to have it notarized. See if the LL goes for this. If they continue to claim it's prohibited by law, then ask them which law is that?
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Postby joshcassan » Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:50 pm

Thank you!
We offered preparing a letter as suggested and make it as official as possible (including notirizing) but that's when they said it would be illegal and didn't want to continue talking with us.
I'll ask the management what law they are referring to.
Thanks.
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Postby TenantNet » Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:56 pm

This is a perfect example why some tenants withhold their last month's rent in order to recover the deposit being held by the LL. I've seen many more nefarious schemes concocted by landlords, but this is pure foolishness. There are some risks with taking such an action, and tenants should be liable for legitimate damages, but too often the claimed damages are fake. Unfortunately, you don't have another month to consider that option.
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Postby joshcassan » Wed Feb 15, 2012 7:01 pm

Would it help to take photos and video of the last day when we move out as evidence in case they want to charge for fake damaged things?
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Postby TenantNet » Wed Feb 15, 2012 7:04 pm

And ask them for a walk through with you before you give back the keys. Make sure you get a receipt for the keys, otherwise they might claim you didn't give up possession. (a favorite tactic). Photos, video, witnesses. This has been discussed many times on the forum.
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