Two people signed a lease agreement (boyfriend and girlfriend). They had a falling out, and one of them moved out this past August, terminating the lease early (there is a clause in the least stating that there is a $400 early termination fee). The security deposit was paid by the one who left - and he has the receipt to prove it.
The tenant who left gave ample notice via email. He has made several requests for the security deposit verbally and in writing. He also suggested that they deduct the early termination fee and forward the rest of the security deposit back to him.
Shortly after he broke the lease, someone else moved in with the other tenant - so there are two tenants residing there again.
It is now December, and the landlord is still holding the security deposit. They have really not written or discussed with him any reason why they are holding it.
The former tenant who left was also just served an eviction notice for the rental - showing his name and the present tenant's name on the lease - which leads him to believe that a new lease was never drafted up a new lease agreement for the "other" tenant and new occupant.
The former tenant feels that the landlord is holding the security deposit for the other original tenant and the other one now residing there (since it is well known that the original tenant and the roommate didn't have the credit or financial means to continue to reside there).
Is the former tenant owed the security deposit, less the early termination fee? If so, is Housing Court the only remedy?