I'm not looking for legal advice and realize people on this site aren't lawyers.
I had rented a house with 3 other tenants (aka roommates). We all moved in at the same time. Initially one was going to be the lead tenant so I gave him my damage deposit (Thomas). After we moved in and signed the lease we were all "equally responsible" (in the sense no one was the lead tenant). Thomas forwarded my damage deposit with everyone elses to the landlord as a lump sum.
The lease was for a year and things got really complicated. Two tenants sublet/assigned their room, and at least 1 got their portion of the damage deposit back from the landlord directly.
I never got my damage deposit back. Who should I go after? The landlord or the tenant I paid it to in the first place? Clearly the landlord is the one who still has the money. Since the landlord was paid in a lump sum, must I get all the original tenants back and sue him for the house's entire damage deposit, or just my portion? The landlord had tried taking me to court over something else and I had his case dismissed without leave, but part of the argument I made was that the lease was not join-and-several, so anything I do now I don't want him to be able to use it to show I was "solely was responsible for the whole house".
Where I live the landlord can't withhold any portion of the damage deposit without a clear explanation for more than 1 month. Since I didn't get my damage deposit back and wasn't given an clear explanation, this entitles me to double the damage deposit. The landlord actually evicted us, though latter I found out he didn't do it properly (it was just the warning to the eviction, though he tried to play it up as the actual eviction). I was the last to move out and the other roommates left a huge mess in the common areas. I message the landlord asking him what needs to be done so I can get my damage deposit back and he never answered. After I moved out he said there was a crack in a window. I know what he's talking about and it's a tiny crack that was there before I moved in. Can the landlord withhold any money for something small and hasn't even gotten fixed?
I kind of got screwed over just because I was the last one to move out and the landlord had my contact info.