Author Topic: Issues with landlord - can they keep my deposit out of spite?  (Read 2139 times)

ThreeCarbsNoGrains

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Issues with landlord - can they keep my deposit out of spite?
« on: November 08, 2017, 09:14:45 AM »
Hi all, would really appreciate thoughtful feedback on this issue.

I've lived in the same "luxury" apartment complex for almost two years now.  The first six months were fantastic, then the property was bought by a new real estate investment company and everything went downhill.  Maintenance calls took days to be completed or were never completed at all, pool was never cleaned, mailboxes were broken and not repaired, etc.  In April of this year we came home to fund putty on the walls of our apartment.  When we contacted property management we were told some painters entered the wrong apartment by mistake.  The painters returned several days later and painted over the putty.  We then realized that they dropped paint onto my leather sofa.  So I contact property management to tell them and they say they will go out to the apartment to view the damage.  When they view the damage, they attempt to clean the sofa and cause further damage.  They never asked my permission to clean the sofa and I'm confident I could have removed the paint spots but I wanted them to view the damage first.  So I contact property management about the sofa damage and am repeatedly told they will deal with it but no one will call me back.  They change property managers and I contact the new manager and explain the situation.  He asks for photos, which I sent to him, and promises to follow up.  He never does.  Finally, I write a letter to the COO of the real estate investment company and CC our regional manager and local property manager and send it certified mail.  I detail the issue, explain that this is a used sofa and I think $500 is a fair amount to be reimbursed so that I can replace my sofa with another used leather sofa.  I also mention in the letter that we endured a water leak for ELEVEN WEEKS while property management and maintenance repeatedly tried to repair a tub leak with caulk.  This water leak soaked my master bedroom closet for weeks ok end (we only have one shower so we couldn't stop using it).  I entered numerous maintenance requests; sometimes they were addressed, sometimes not, and it took eleven weeks for property management to finally call a real contractor and fix the issue.  So I include that in the letter and explain that I paid full market rent for those eleven weeks despite the fact that I was dealing with a water leak which was not being addressed.  After the letter I got a call back from the property manager all in a huff who tells me that he always intended to reimburse me for the sofa but he has to bask his boss about concessions on the rent for the 11 weeks we dealt with the leak.  He says he'll call me back that afternoon.  A week later, I haven't heard from him.  I call him yesterday, he isn't available.  My husband goes by the office and speaks wth him, property manager says he has to type up a letter for me to sign and he will follow up with me later.  I send husband back into the office (I was at work) to hand the phone to the property manager and I ask when I can expect to receive this letter.  I asked will I receive it tomorrow (which is now today).  He assures me I will.

So here is my concern - obviously I have pissed off the entire property management (even though I have been polite and reasonable every time).  I'm moving in a few weeks and I'm very concerned that they will try to hold on to my deposit or invent reasons to backcharge us even though we have caused no damage to the apartment.  The apartment is 30+ years old and previous tenants had caused plenty of wear and tear.  is this worth being concerned about?  This entire experience has been miserable.  What do I do if they refuse to return my deposit?  Or should I be confident they will release it just to be rid of their most annoying tenant?

TL:DR Landlord damaged my property and has given me the runaround for seven months on reimbursement.  Obviously I've pissed them off so what do I do if they refuse to return my deposit when I move?!
« Last Edit: November 08, 2017, 09:17:13 AM by ThreeCarbsNoGrains »

ixtap

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Re: Issues with landlord - can they keep my deposit out of spite?
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2017, 10:07:49 AM »
Your best bet is to contact your local tenants' association. They are familiar with local laws and what works best on your location.

Catbert

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Re: Issues with landlord - can they keep my deposit out of spite?
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2017, 11:10:40 AM »
1.  Ask for a walk thru before you leave to see what, "damages" they find.
2.  Take pictures, lots of pictures of the apt after your stuff is out.
3.  Small claims court.

charis

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Re: Issues with landlord - can they keep my deposit out of spite?
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2017, 11:19:20 AM »
1.  Ask for a walk thru before you leave to see what, "damages" they find.
2.  Take pictures, lots of pictures of the apt after your stuff is out.
3.  Small claims court.

Yep.  I had to do this and I got my entire deposit back and small claims filing fee.

EarthSurfer

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Re: Issues with landlord - can they keep my deposit out of spite?
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2017, 04:48:57 AM »
Definitely do the walk through with a representative of the landlord when surrendering the unit. Take pictures of anything called out in the inspection. Require a signed copy of the inspection document or photograph it at completion. You want something that shows the agreed or disputed damages.

In my reading, if you donít do the walk through inspection with a landlordís representative, you will have a more difficult time proving the lack of damage.

Also, your lease may contain required forfeitures for services such as carpet cleaning on move out.

Only pay rent and fees by check or demand a receipt for any cash or non-verifiable payment.

In Georgia, you are entitled to treble damages if the Landlord improperly withholds a disputed portion of the deposit.

Read the Georgia Renters Handbook at http://www.dca.ga.gov/housing/housingdevelopment/programs/downloads/Georgia_Landlord_Tenant_Handbook.pdf

Livingthedream55

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Re: Issues with landlord - can they keep my deposit out of spite?
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2017, 06:20:20 AM »
Document, document, document anticipating that you will need to go to small claims court

Print out a timeline summary of every occurrence of maintenance requests - -DATE - Phone Call: requested repair of water leak in bathroom,  no response

print out backup copy of everything that supports that you in fact made a call on that day (screen shot from cell phone, for example)

as others have said, tons of photos - with captions, dates

Hopefully won't be necessary, but if you are well prepared you have a good chance of success.


ysette9

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Re: Issues with landlord - can they keep my deposit out of spite?
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2017, 03:41:15 PM »
and please be sure to follow up on this thread so we can all hear about how this turns out. Good luck!

ThreeCarbsNoGrains

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Re: Issues with landlord - can they keep my deposit out of spite?
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2017, 02:25:58 PM »
Everyone, thank you so much for your feedback!  I am so relieved now that I have a plan to follow.  The sofa issue has been resolved to my satisfaction.  Now just a few more weeks here and I plan to video the walkthru while I'm with the property management.  I always leave my rentals spotless and in better condition than when I arrived so there should be no reason for any complaints on their part.  I'll update in a few weeks when I have moved!

pk_aeryn

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Re: Issues with landlord - can they keep my deposit out of spite?
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2017, 11:43:46 PM »
I thought my last landlord/property management was going to do the same thing to me. Turns out they were so incompetent with their record keeping that they thought my deposit was more than it was that the money they withheld was a wash. I was so relieved.