George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School

M-VETS Assists Air Force Reservist in Securing Return of Security Deposit

(Pictured: M-VETS Student-Advisor Jonathan Moeller)

The Mason Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic (“M-VETS”) assisted an Air Force Reservist with securing the return of his $3,300 security deposit wrongfully withheld by his Landlord. After the Reservist was separated from active duty in late 2019, he provided notice to his Landlord of his intent to terminate his lease early pursuant to the provisions of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (“SCRA”), which permits service members to terminate residential leases early without penalty after a permanent change of station or separation from active duty. Pursuant to the terms of the lease, the Landlord was required to return the security deposit, or an itemization of deductions from the security deposit, within 45 days of the termination of the tenancy. The Landlord failed to return the security deposit or an itemization of damages.

The Reservist sought the assistance of M-VETS to secure the return of his deposit. M-VETS Student Advisor Jonathan Moeller drafted a demand letter to the Landlord outlining the Reservist’s legal entitlement to the security deposit. As a result, the entire $3,300 security deposit was returned to the Reservist without bringing suit against the Landlord.

“I couldn’t have been more impressed by [Jonathan’s] professionalism and the dedication he displayed to resolving the issue with my Landlord,” said the Reservist. “Jonathan provided timely feedback, always provided me with multiple options to consider, and made himself available even after hours to address questions/concerns I had. I couldn’t be more thankful for the service M-VETS provides and I’d gladly trust Jonathan to handle any issues I was facing in the future.”

“We are very thankful to be able to deliver a successful outcome to our client without having to resort to litigation,” said Leigh Winstead, M-VETS Deputy Director. “It is rare that we reach a resolution so quickly and without filing a lawsuit, but we are happy to deliver the desired outcome to our client and close this chapter for their family in an expedient manner.” Winstead said.

M-VETS provides free legal representation to veterans, active duty service members, and their families while allowing law students to gain practical legal experience under the supervision of practicing attorneys. M-VETS provides representation in a variety of matters including Virginia civil litigation matters, uncontested divorces, consumer protection matters, wills and powers of attorney, as well as assisting with matters before the VA and various administrative boards, including discharge upgrades, record corrections, military pay and entitlement matters, and VA disability benefit appeals.