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FindLaw Answers Questions of the Day: Landlord-Tenant Faceoff

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By Brian Kumnick on June 01, 2009 6:50 PM

It's time once again to take a break from billing clients and put in a little pro bono effort.  Put your Greedy smarts to use and help the users of FindLaw Answers through the ever-disputed territory of landlord-tenant law.

Today we present pair of posts that really intrigued us.  Not so much for their legal substance, although there is a real legal question at issue here, but for their eerie similarity.  It certainly appears to us that a landlord and a (former) tenant have independently sought the help of the Answers community to resolve their dispute.  Read on and see if you agree.

First, we have a post from "sugarkitty," a landlord in Virginia, whose long-ago tenant moved away without bothering to collect her security deposit refund:

I had a tenant who vacated my property in early 2005 and refused to provide a forwarding address. I haven't heard from her in all this time but she called today demanding immediate return of her security deposit and threatening a lawsuit. After more than four years am I required to return it to her now?
We don't know too many tenants who don't want (or, frankly, need) their security deposits back after moving, so this is already an interesting story.  A later post by "blaize125" on the Real Estate board, though, made us take note:

What is the statute of limitations for requesting return of a security deposit? I moved in 2005 but didn't give forwarding info to my landlord and lost his contact info after that.  I just found it in some old paperwork and realize that I should have gotten money back from my security deposit.  After more than four years am I still legally entitled to have it returned?
This sure sounds to us like the same question, flipped to the tenant side.  Security deposit, Virginia, 2005, lack of forwarding address; all the details are there, and it sure seems like landlord and tenant have recently had an unproductive discussion, and are now seeking quick legal guidance from the Answers community.

Too much of a coincidence, you say?  Could these posts be from the same source, seeking different answers by asking the question a different way?  Sure they could, and we have contemplated that.  But even if that's the case, we like that these questions provide an opportunity to consider a dispute from both sides.  In these days of debates about the value of judicial empathy, here's your chance to invoke a little and see how it feels.  So go ahead and weigh in, won't you, and our landlord and tenant will thank you.  You know, assuming they're real.  And not the same person.

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