Fighting for security deposit refund

Tenants pursue lawsuit after work visas force relocation

Q: My husband and I are Canadians working in the U.S. and do not fully understand your tenant-landlord laws. It all started in 2009 when we lived and worked in Honolulu, where we rented a condo from a landlord who lived in San Diego.

We signed a six-month lease and gave the landlord a security deposit of $2,200. When the six-month lease was up, we renewed for another six months at a lower rate of $2,000. However, we encountered work visa issues and chose to break our lease early, giving our landlord two months’ notice that we would be vacating the unit and returning to Canada.

There were only a few months left on the lease and we even tried to help her find new tenants to move in but were unsuccessful. We paid the full month’s rent but actually moved out Dec. 13. Fortunately, the property was rented almost immediately, according to the landlord’s real estate agent, who advised us that the new tenants moved in within a week or just before the Christmas holiday.