Bryan Cohen Apr. 15, 2014, 1:26pm

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (Legal Newsline) - North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper announced on Thursday that his office obtained a preliminary injunction against a landlord who allegedly failed to return security deposits.

Ware Investments LLC and James Kelly, the company's managing director, allegedly collected security deposits from tenants and deposited them in personal or regular business accounts instead of placing them into a separate trust account. When the tenants' leases ended, Ware Investments and Kelly allegedly withheld the security deposits and failed to provide a written record of any charges for which the deposits had been used.

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

Orange County Superior Court Judge R. Allen Baddour, Jr. granted Cooper's request on Wednesday to prohibit Ware Investments and Kelly from requesting or receiving security deposits from tenants. Cooper filed a lawsuit against Ware Investments and Kelly in August. The suit seeks civil penalties and refunds for tenants who never received their security deposit back.

"Educate yourself so you can avoid problems," Cooper said. "Many renters are signing new leases for next school year and putting down deposits right now, while others will be moving out next month and trying to get their deposits back."

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