Author Topic: landlord holding security deposit hostage  (Read 11957 times)

ohsnap

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 245
Re: landlord holding security deposit hostage
« Reply #50 on: November 01, 2016, 08:23:09 AM »
You are not going to get your deposit back unless you file in small claims court.  Do it today.  Do not call them again, do not write them again.  California laws are very tenant friendly, and unless they can prove they gave you a statement within the time required by law, the judge will award you the entire deposit.  Anything else (they said your wife told them to just deduct whatever from the deposit) is irrelevant.

Oh, I would also pay the $50 or whatever it is to have them served, so they don't avoid your next letter.  We had to go back and do that when we filed in small claims once.

Hmm, I just re-read your original post and realized you're out of state.  That makes it tougher - I don't think you can file online.  So maybe not "do it today", but really, as soon as you can make a quick/cheap trip back.  Really you are not going to get anywhere with this landlord, so your only hope for the $3k is to file.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2016, 08:30:13 AM by ehallison »

JLee

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5403
Re: landlord holding security deposit hostage
« Reply #51 on: November 01, 2016, 08:29:05 AM »
Unless you had huge stains on carpet from pets or spills, i think that is normal wear and tear. Same with the paint, unless you took a crayon and started drawing on the walls, they cannot charge you for that!

Yep.

https://rpoaonline.org/kb/can-charge-damaged-carpet/
http://homeguides.sfgate.com/can-landlord-charge-new-carpet-new-paint-lived-there-10-years-44474.html

robartsd

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2181
  • Location: Northern California
Re: landlord holding security deposit hostage
« Reply #52 on: November 01, 2016, 08:50:48 AM »
A tacked down carpet is depreciated over 5 years; if a carpet in a rental need replacing within 5 years, it probably isn't "normal wear and tear". I've had a landlord (in California) who had a policy of repainting between each occupancy and charging tenants for paint if they moved out after less than 3 years (full paint job if less than 1 year, prorated between 1 and 3 years).

In your case it does not matter if the damages are normal wear and tear or not because the landlord failed to properly account for the deposit.

bradleylsmith

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 104
Re: landlord holding security deposit hostage
« Reply #53 on: November 02, 2016, 12:55:14 AM »
thanks for all the help guys, I could not have done this good of a job without it!

It sounds like I'll be researching how to file a small claims court as I got no notice that they sent a check today. We'll have to figure out when to fly back for vacation and when the court will be open. It sounds like we'll have to fly twice unfortunately, once to file and once on the actual court date.


bradleylsmith

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 104
Re: landlord holding security deposit hostage
« Reply #54 on: November 02, 2016, 01:00:02 AM »
oh, is the amount I should file just the original security deposit or should it be higher for costs incurred? Mainly, the flights back to fight this.

Goldielocks

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6180
  • Location: BC
Re: landlord holding security deposit hostage
« Reply #55 on: November 02, 2016, 01:09:55 AM »
Unless you had huge stains on carpet from pets or spills, i think that is normal wear and tear. Same with the paint, unless you took a crayon and started drawing on the walls, they cannot charge you for that!

And they would need to show photos, in my opinion, to prove their claim in court that there was more than normal wear and tear involved.  Especially as most reasonable people would take photos of excessive damages upon seeing them.

Bumps on the walls, incidental nicks, and rub marks on paint are normal wear and tear. 
Spilling a gallon of green latex paint on the carpet that you could not fully get the colour out of is tenant damage.  Maybe some forms of pet damage would be tenant caused as well.

JLee

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5403
Re: landlord holding security deposit hostage
« Reply #56 on: November 02, 2016, 09:00:11 AM »
oh, is the amount I should file just the original security deposit or should it be higher for costs incurred? Mainly, the flights back to fight this.

This may be helpful: http://www.courts.ca.gov/1008.htm

I would also see if you're able to file through the mail, and save a flight out there.