How can I recover my security deposit if I can’t find my landlord?

Q: My landlord has not returned my security deposit and is now nowhere to be found. I do not know her current address and she has not returned any of my phone calls or text messages. What can I do? (Pittsburgh, PA)

A: In PA, you need to serve your landlord with written notice of your request to refund your security deposit within thirty days of moving. Send it via certified mail, return receipt to her last known address. If you do this and the landlord fails return your security deposit, he or she can be penalized under the law in addition to being ordered to return the security deposit. If it is returned, keep the card as evidence. Create a paper trail and save all your documents. You can ask your post office for advice on searching for the new address. If you fill out a request form, they may be able to give you forwarding address information. Keep your documents and if the landlord ever resurfaces you will have records to show you made a diligent attempt to find him and might be able to get your security deposit back plus damages.

If you feel like this issue relates to you, or a problem that you are experiencing, please contact me so that we can discuss your situation.