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I moved out of my rental home and the landlord has not returned my security deposit. It would appear that the landlord is trying to avoid me and have her friend (who is apparently a lawyer) do all the talking. The friend said she could email-transfer my damage deposit back to me, to which I replied I would prefer to speak directly with the landlord (which is true because the landlord owes me prorated rent). Anyway, the landlord has ignored all my communications after her friends started emailing me. Just to be clear, the friend's name never appears on the lease or any agreement I signed.

Is it possible that the landlord has somehow delegated her responsibilities as the landlord to another person? If someone is "legally representing" someone else, must they tell me?

  • You're currently asking two questions that are not otherwise related except that they both arise from this situation. Please pick one, remove the other and ask the other separately. This will make providing answers clearer and easier, and allow appropriate voting/accepting on the best for each. – Nij Oct 15 '18 at 18:39
  • @Nij now is fixed – Acrimony1 Oct 15 '18 at 19:23
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Is it possible that the landlord has somehow delegated her responsibilities as the landlord to another person?

Yes.

If someone is "legally representing" someone else, must they tell me?

You only have to deal with someone if they indicate that they are acting as an agent of the landlord under circumstances when it is reasonable to believe them. In the case of a lawyer, a communication would usually begin, "I am an attorney for "landlord"". In the case of someone else, a power of attorney or management contract with the landlord, or letter from the landlord authorizing them to act on their behalf, would be the norm.

There does not need to be anything on an agreement or lease signed by you.

Also, while lawyers are not permitted to contact people they know are represented by counsel, no such prohibition applies to individuals.

Aside from just complicating things, is there any reason why I shouldn’t accept my security deposit being returned by someone who isn’t the landlord?

No. You should accept cash from anyone who gives it to you, as a general rule. But, cash from someone not identified as an agent of the landlord in some way might not release you from liability to the landlord for damages in the way that a return of a security deposition from the landlord or an agent would. On the other hand, sending you a security deposit refund, almost by definition, establishes that someone is an agent of the landlord.

  • The landlord’s friend claimed to be the actual owner of the house and said that meant he too is my landlord. My (original) landlord still owed me prorated rent so I told him I wanted to deal with her directly. He kept messaging me and I told him to stop but now the (original) landlord isn’t replying. Could it be construed I waived my damage deposit by telling the person claiming to be another landlord to stop contacting me? BTW the time to return my damage deposit has elapsed. – Acrimony1 Oct 15 '18 at 19:27
  • @Acrimony1 I think they screwed up, not you. Bring a small claims suit demanding its return, usually, after the deadline for doing so passes, with some sort of sanction or right to attorneys' fees. – ohwilleke Oct 15 '18 at 19:29

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