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I recently moved out of an apartment. The landlord has failed to give me a list of the actual costs mentioned here in state law which should make them liable for triple the deposit in damages. I see that as a separate actionable issue though, including here in case context is important.

The landlord is claiming damages in excess of my security deposit, some of which I contest. However, the lease has a provision making me liable for legal costs if they sue me and win. Can I protect my downside by paying the damages and then suing them for the return of that money, rather than daring them to sue me? Or does paying the damages imply that I accept them and torpedo my case for recovery?

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There is, in general, a rule that all matters connected with a single transaction or event should be included in a single legal case. Different jurisdictions apply this diffidently, and I haven't yet researched this in Maryland specifically.

Also, if you agree to pay a part of what the landlord claims, you will quite likely be asked to sign a settlement agreement as part of the transaction. This is likely to include a release of all claims connected with your tenancy at the apartment. If it does, and you sign the agreement, you will be giving up any claim you might otherwise have because of the failure to properly notify you.

You may want to consult a lawyer about this. A one-time consultation might not be very expensive.

If you sued the landlord, you could do so in small claims court, where legal costs are significantly lower than in other courts.

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  • I don't foresee a settlement agreement. Their position appears to be "pay all these charges or we will sue." Thanks for the other couple pieces of advice though.
    – Bartimaeus
    Commented Oct 24, 2022 at 18:54
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    The legal expressions requiring all actions to be brought together is res judicata and action estoppel.
    – Dale M
    Commented Oct 24, 2022 at 23:17

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