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 A Chapel Hill, North Carolina landlord has been barred from taking security deposits from his tenants.

After receiving complaints from tenants who did not receive their deposits back, the state’s Attorney General Roy Cooper filed a lawsuit.

This week, the judge granted Coopers request to prohibit the landlord from requesting or receiving security deposits from tenants.

North Carolina law is clear, and landlords need to know and follow the rules on security deposits, Cooper said.

The case is ongoing, and Cooper is seeking refunds for tenants who never got their security deposit back as well as civil penalties.

Coopers complaint alleged that the landlord rented to university students in Chapel Hill and Durham. He collected security deposits from tenants, which were then deposited in personal or regular business accounts instead of being placed into a separate trust account as required by law. When tenants leases ended, he routinely withheld tenants security deposits and did not provide a written record of any charges for which their deposits had been used.

Cooper released a statement encouraging tenants to educate themselves about the rental laws and their rights under the law. He added that tenants should notify the landlord of their new address when they move out so that they can receive a security deposit refund promptly.

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