Topic Tag: Security Deposit
I’m hoping someone who went through a similar situation might be able to offer advice or share their experience. Do we have a good chance of winning our case in small claims?
We moved out of our apartment in the middle of August. It was a 1BD/1BA condo, and we had lived there for 20 months. The people we hired to clean the place did a super awesome job, and we left everything in great condition. We had a pretty quick turn around between the moving, cleaning, and walk through because our landlord is currently living in another country, and he was back in the US for a limited time, during which he wanted to do the key exchange. So we didn’t have any time to do additional work, if the landlord pointed anything out.
We did the walk through, and the only things that my landlord pointed out were that there was a bit of pink mildew in the tub grout (like maybe an inch) and there were a couple places where the wall was scuffed; one in the closet and one in the hallway (and possibly the living room). These scuffs were pretty minor. The landlord pointed them out, said something along the lines of, “I’m not sure if I’m going to have to paint that.” Did not directly say he was going to charge us for anything. For what it’s worth, the apartment was NOT freshly painted when we moved in.
Forty four days later, he sent us an email saying that he needed to paint the apartment, and that it cost him $1000, but he was only going to charge us $500 because he realized that they had a part to play in keeping up the apartment. This was the cost for painting the entire apartment, not just the scuffs (we confirmed this with him). We’re pretty sure that for the condition of the apartment when we moved in and the length of time that we were there, that these scuffs would constitute normal wear and tear. On top of that, the landlord did not send us an itemized receipt, nor did he send us the interest on the deposit (both of which by our lease and the law he is required to do).
We’re still doing some research on how exactly small claims will work with an out of country landlord (will he get served overseas??), but we plan on taking legal action if they do not agree to give us our money back. However, I would like to know if others have had to fight for their security deposit after being charged for painting? Did you win? The regulations are a little murky on where painting falls. We don’t want to go in with a case on shaky legal ground, then have to pay for his (likely hefty) plane fare if he counter-sues.
Trying to find out what my rights are as the tenant and what my landlord could do on his side.
Basically, I sent my 30 days notice to the property manager, which he acknowledged. He asked me to tell him when he could do the move-out inspection and I emailed asking if it had to be a weekday or could be a weekend and also asking that they give me notice before showing the apartment since I have a dog (even offered to help show it so the owner didn’t have to come down from NY). No response. I email a week later asking again and offering a few dates that work. Still no response. I finally email again on the 7th of the new month asking when they can do it so i can get my deposit back and they schedule for the next morning.
Fast forward EXACTLY 45 days to last friday (when they need to return the deposit by law) and I get an email saying that because I didn’t “turn in my keys” until the 8th, they’re keeping a week of rent. Now, I probably should have attempted again to schedule the inspection before the first but I did make two attempts to schedule with no response from them. When I mentioned this, the property manager said he understood my frustration but that I had not tried to contact anyone else at his company, so I was out of luck. He is my only point of contact and I only knew his information because after trying to email our original manager and the email bounced back; and a call to the office revealed that he had left the company and no one had told us who our new manager was.
So I reach out to the owner and it turns out that they didn’t tell him that we were moving out until the 8th when they did the inspection! He lost a month’s rent (maybe more?) because he thought I would notify him directly and the manager didn’t say anything to him. So now, not only is there financial loss, but I’ve lost the great relationship I’d built with my landlord and can never use him as a reference.
It gets even more shady though – making small talk with the manager when he came to do the inspection, I asked if the landlord had decided to redo the floors and not rent it out right away (and hence why they hadn’t shown the apartment at all during the last month). He replied that he thought the owner was still “deciding what to do with the property” but that he was “sad to hear we were leaving”. So he made it sound to me like he had already talked to him and told him we were leaving.
Finally, I got a letter from them today postmarked the 23rd with the “itemization of security deposit” forms, the box checked to indicate the check was enclosed – with no check. So they’ve now blown past the 45 day requirement to give me my money back.
Are they super shady our just super incompetent? Do I/my landlord have any legal recourse against them for the money? Do I take the loss and try and salvage the relationship with my former landlord?
I moved out of my apartment over 3 months ago and my landlord still has not returned my security deposit. He has said via email he has mailed a couple checks to my new address but none have shown up. I know legally he was required to return it within 45 days, but I’m not sure what the next step is to enforce this. Office of the Tenant Advocate? Department of Consumer Affairs? Small Claims court? Anyone have experience seeking a legal solution?
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