My question involves a security deposit in the State of: PA
I am having some issues dealing with a former tenant. The summary of what happened is this: I had to move due to work, and I rented my house out to someone I thought I could trust. She lived there for 2 years and always paid on time. The thing is she also smoked heavily inside the house, and had a large dog which was prohibited by the lease. I had her sign a lease for a year, and then just let it go month to month at the end of the lease. When she wanted to move out, I told her that I wouldn't be able to look at the property for 3 weeks after she moved out because I live 9 hours away, and she was fine with that. I told her where she could drop the keys off and I thought everything was kosher. So we come to look at the place after she moved and realized it still reeked of cigarrettes, so we decided the whole house needed repainting in order to get rid of the smell. We worked for 8 days cleaning and repainting. After we were done, on june 1st she calls me and tells me that under PA law I was supposed to either refund her the deposit in full, or send a letter stating why the deposit or part of is being witheld, and she was suing me for double the deposit amount! Well I admit I was a little ignorant of the law, but again I thought her and I had a different type of relationship, and that she was okay with the wait. So I immediately added up the cost to paint, and it was actually more than the deposit, but I thought I'd be nice and only charge her for repainting 2 rooms, since the other rooms needed repainted anyway. So I wrote an explanation of the charges, and sent a check for the remainder. Well, she cashed the check, but is still suing me for double the deposit, minus the check she cashed I think maybe she thinks I won't make the 9 hour trip to defend myself, but she is mistaken!! Now I need advice on what to do. The thing is the law says 30 days after the keys are turned in, and technically she didn't turn them in until may 2nd. She tried to turn them in on April 30th, but she claims I gave her bad directions to where my father was, even though she didn't call me over the weekend to have me clarify the directions but magically found the place the following Monday. So I think by law I was within the 30 days. But assuming I can win the suit, I would like to countersue her for the time I have to take off work to defend myself, plus the cost of gas and childcare for that day. Not only that, but I really should not have even given her back what I did, because I found out later that even though I never had her resign a lease after the first year, she was still bound by the original terms and therefore broke the lease by having the dog. Is there any possibility of getting back the amount I sent her? Any advice regarding this would be greatly appreciated!!!