Registered: 1210125926 Posts: 6
Reply with quote #1
I've been a landlord for 11 years managed over 100 units and this is new to me.
3 years ago I was renting one apartment to a guy, he ended up getting a tenant of mine at a different property pregnant. Guy was a deadbeat and left and totally destroyed the apartment. Thousands of dollars of damage. Girl left shortly after guy left and they moved into a trailer together. Girl didn't give proper notice (60 days). I kept her deposit and she still owes $685. I wasn't able to send her paperwork stating why her deposit was kept in a timely manor (21 days in MN) because she wouldn't give me a forwarding address. Reason no address would be given as I wanted to find boyfriend to send collections after him. Now 3 years later she calls demanding her deposit back. She gave me the new address asking for me to forward it, or she will take me to court. There has to be a statute of limitations, but does anyone know how long? I'm in Minnesota if that helps. Called a lawyer today who is going to have to check, he's never heard of anything like this.
Registered: 1169270040 Posts: 3,794
Reply with quote #2
Simply send her a copy of the originial deduction statement showing that you deducted rent for the notice period for lack of proper notice, along with any deductions you made for damges, repairs, unpaid utilities, etc. Show the balance owing to you and demand payment immediately. You did send this form to her last know address when she left no forwarding, right? You should have sent it to your rental address to see if it would be forwarded by the post office, then filed the unopened letter away in her file when it can back to you. If not, make sure the letter looks like the original one and is dated within the 21 day period after she vacated, 3 years ago. Enclose a cover letter stating it was mailed to her last known address on xx/xx/xx date.
Registered: 1210125926 Posts: 6
Reply with quote #3
Here is what I have found out.... No attempt is needed if a forwarding address is not given in my state. (I called the post office and she had no forwarding address so I never mailed anything)
Law statute can be read two different ways. One... This is a civil matter and the tenant would have 6 years to sue me. Two... The 21 days I have to give the deposit back is also the same time frame the tenant has to get me a forwarding address. Lawyer told me it's kind of a gray area, he thought most judges would side with the tenant if they are owed the deposit, even if its longer than 21 days. However being its been 3 years, and she was basically hiding, lawyer thinks judge would rule by the law. I've got nothing to fear, luckily I've kept good records, and am sending off the letter within 21 days of address notification, even though it took 3 years for the notification.
Registered: 1267913372 Posts: 32
Reply with quote #4
First, I am not an attorney, and this is not legal advice. You should double check with an attorney to be sure what I am saying is accurate, but I have had some experience with this exact same situation. I realize this may be a but late in coming, but hopefully it will help people in the future. I realize you sent within 21 days from notification, but this info is for others as well.
In Minnesota the statute of limitations for written agreements (i.e. a lease) is 6 years. I believe (not 100% sure) that this would be how long she has to take action to recover her damage deposit. What I am sure of however, is that if she does still has a live claim, you have 21 days from the date you are provided her forwarding address, regardless of how long she waited to provide it to you (again, assuming the claim is still valid, and not expired). I know this seems patently unfair, but this was found in the case of Johnson v Schoen when the landlord received the court paperwork with the plaintiffs address and failed to return the damage deposit or an accounting within 21 days of receiving the court paperwork. The court interpreted the 21 days as beginning from the time the landlord first became aware of the tenants address. This was well past 21 days from the termination of tenancy. If it has in fact been less than 21 days since you received her address from her, immediately send her an accounting of what you are keeping and why! If it is less than 21 days since you received her address, you are golden!! Furthermore, if more than 21 days has elapsed since you received her address, and you have not yet sent her an accounting of what you kept and why, you in fact owe your former tenant double the damage deposit plus interest, and lost any and all claims to damages or back rent! This is MN Statutes Section 504B.178. https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=504B will give you access to all the statutes regarding tenant / landlord law in MN. If you have let the 21 days lapse since you received her address, and if she files a case against you, you then have 2 weeks from the initiation of legal action to give her the damage deposit back, or else you could be found liable for an additional $200 in punitive damages for a presumed act of bad faith. Johnson v Schoen also states that if the 21 day deadline passed without your sending her an accounting, you have lost claims to damages or back rent. I wish I had better news for you. Always a good idea to send an accounting. Send it to the address of the unit you rented them if they failed to provide forwarding address. As OHlandlord said, then if it gets returned, keep it as proof that you made every reasonable attempt. Good Luck!
Registered: 1274850935 Posts: 21
Reply with quote #5
I have the same situation that my tenant stays for 13 years and when i said to leave him then he started demanding some part of the house or demanding compensation to leave the home.
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