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80-year-old who was forced to move fights to get her security deposit back

RICHMOND, Va. -- An 80-year-old Richmond woman contacted the CBS 6 Problem Solvers after she was forced out of her rental home and not reimbursed her security deposit.

Marva Booker said she paid on time, took care of the home, then out of nowhere, she was asked to move a few months ago.

Booker had to quickly move out of the Lamb Avenue rental home because the landlord sold it. She was counting on her $1100 security deposit to get settled into a new place, but she ran into issues getting her money back.

“Bills on bills, closing out accounts at one place and opening up accounts at another place,” Booker recalled.

Booker says her landlord sent her a letter telling her she sold the house. In the letter, the landlord explained she had turned Booker’s lease and $1100 security deposit over to the new owner.

Marva Booker

The former landlord confirmed that information with CBS 6.

In a separate letter to Booker, the new owner explained that he planned to renovate and gave her a positive rental recommendation letter that she could share with potential landlords.

But Booker says when it was time to turn in the keys to the new owner, she could never get in touch with him and get her deposit back.

“Calling him and I went by his house a number of times. So finally, I just didn't know what else to do,” Booker explained.

Booker’s family members contacted the CBS 6 Problem Solvers.

CBS 6 Problem Solver Shelby Brown was able to reach the new owner, who explained that he had been in and out of town and unable to reach Booker several times.

He said he was only given a $550 deposit by the former landlord.

But when CBS 6 contacted Booker, she disputed that.

In the end, the new owner said though he couldn’t find proof that he owed $1100, he agreed to pay Booker her money in the coming days.

“Ohhh, thank you! I'm elated... Elated… Thank you,” said Booker.

Under the Virginia code, landlords can require a security deposit, but it can't exceed two month's rent. When the lease ends, he/she is required to return the security deposit within 45 days. If the landlord needs to deduct funds for late fees, utility balances or damages, he/she must give the tenant a written notice, itemizing the fees.

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