by Phoenix attorney Christopher A. Combs, partner with Combs Law Group, P.C.

Question: When we rented our apartment we paid a security deposit of $500 to the property management company. The property management company is located in our apartment building, and we have enjoyed working with them. The property management company has now sent us a notice that they will be resigning as the property manager for our apartment building, and that all security deposits will be forwarded to the landlord who lives in California. We have only one month remaining on our lease, and we do not want our $500 security deposit with a stranger in California. The property management company says that they are required by law to send all security deposits to the landlord when they resign. Is the property management company required to send our $500 security deposit to the new owner in California?

Answer: Probably. The property management company has a fiduciary duty to the landlord, and generally has to obey the instructions of the landlord. Therefore, unless your lease agreement provides to the contrary, the property management company is required to forward your $500 security deposit and all other security deposits to the landlord in California.