Author Topic: Why do they always try to take the security deposit?  (Read 7405 times)

CmFtns

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Why do they always try to take the security deposit?
« on: February 24, 2016, 09:58:58 AM »
Almost every place I've ever rented has always tried to take part of the security deposit for normal wear and tear, general cleaning, carpet cleaning. In this case it's $220 for general cleaning and $150 for carpet cleaning. Since it is against the law for landlord to charge for these things I always contest it but it always turns out a little bit of a fight.

So what's best way to reply back to landlord's email that isn't

Dear landlord,
Fuck you landlord

BAM!!  vvvv
"Landlord may not collect for carpet cleaning, general cleaning of the house and driveway/patio, or painting, as those expenses are in the nature of ordinary wear and tear which are the responsibility of the landlord" BURLEY v. MATEO, Court, 17th Judicial Circuit in and for Broward County. Case No. 10-17638 COWE, Division 81. March 2, 2011. Jane D. Fishman, Judge.

Thanks,
your tenant

They don't usually appreciate that

UPDATE* I got full deposit back
« Last Edit: March 15, 2016, 10:27:27 AM by comfyfutons »

randymarsh

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Re: Why do they always try to take the security deposit?
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2016, 11:57:37 AM »
Because it's an easy money grab that most people will let go.

In your case, I'd simply send a letter similar to what you already wrote.  Like a letter letter, through registered/certified mail (whichever one gets you a postcard back saying they received it) that says:

Dear landlord,

As decided in BURLEY v. MATEO (blah blah blah), I am not responsible for the following charges:

1
2
3

I expect my deposit amount of <X> to be returned to me at <ADDRESS> within <DAYS>. I will pursue small claims court in the event I do not receive security deposit by X.

Sincerely,

your tenant

Dollar Slice

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Re: Why do they always try to take the security deposit?
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2016, 12:11:23 PM »
I think they just try to claim whatever they think is just barely low enough not to be contested. I hired someone to deep clean before I moved out (I was dealing with medical issues and didn't want to leave the place dirty for the next tenant, since that has happened to me before and it sucks) and they cleaned HARDCORE, the place was spotless. And the landlady still charged me an illegal cleaning fee because they knew I was sick and stressed and dealing with a long-distance move and probably wouldn't hassle them about a smallish fee.

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Re: Why do they always try to take the security deposit?
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2016, 12:34:20 PM »
I was dinged a few times in college despite leaving places better than I had found them.  At one point I considered withholding the last months rent to prevent such an occurrence but fortunately never had to rent again so I never tried it to see what would happen.  This method carries the risk that the landlord still charges you then sends the item to collections.  The legalese letter is probably a better option.

Now, as a landlord, I pride myself in giving back a tenant their full deposit with no BS deductions.  Also my pet deposit is a true deposit, not a pet fee.

Beaker

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Re: Why do they always try to take the security deposit?
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2016, 12:46:15 PM »
Best thing you can do is document the hell out of the condition before your stay. Do a meticulous property inventory of all wear/damage, and get the landlord to sign it. If they won't, send them a copy anyway. Also take photos of everything: walls, carpets, bathroom, shower, inside of closets, inside fridge, cabinets, inside oven, everything. Especially anything that was damaged/dirty, but include all the areas that look fine as well. Turn on all the lights while you're doing it, so you get good detail in the photos. Make sure you save them somewhere they won't get lost (Dropbox, iCloud, etc work well).

When you move out, take more photos of everything. Try to do a walkthrough with the landlord. If they charge you for something you can look at all the photos and either see if they're right, or have evidence to prove them wrong. If you send them that legalese letter, attach the before & after property inventory, and before & after photos. This will make it much harder for them to argue against you.

Also, make sure that you really, truly did clean the place and not damage it. I have been on the other side of this a few times, and several former tenants made a lot of noise about how everything was 100% clean and I'm just ripping them off. So I send them the photos of the crap in the fridge, the gunk stuck inside the cabinets, the filthy shower, the scratches in the flooring, and that's usually the end of it. I'm not saying that's you, I've never seen your apartment, but sometimes in the bustle of moving out people are not as detail oriented as they think they are.

AM43

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Re: Why do they always try to take the security deposit?
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2016, 12:50:28 PM »
Almost every place I've ever rented has always tried to take part of the security deposit for normal wear and tear, general cleaning, carpet cleaning. In this case it's $220 for general cleaning and $150 for carpet cleaning. Since it is against the law for landlord to charge for these things I always contest it but it always turns out a little bit of a fight.

So what's best way to reply back to landlord's email that isn't

Dear landlord,
Fuck you landlord

BAM!!  vvvv
"Landlord may not collect for carpet cleaning, general cleaning of the house and driveway/patio, or painting, as those expenses are in the nature of ordinary wear and tear which are the responsibility of the landlord" BURLEY v. MATEO, Court, 17th Judicial Circuit in and for Broward County. Case No. 10-17638 COWE, Division 81. March 2, 2011. Jane D. Fishman, Judge.

Thanks,
your tenant

They don't usually appreciate that

As a landlord I can tell you those are BS charges and you should not have pay them.
You do have to remove all your belongings though.
If my tenants leave something behind(especially furniture pieces),I will take part of their deposit in order to remove those items.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2016, 12:56:48 PM by AM43 »

CmFtns

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Re: Why do they always try to take the security deposit?
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2016, 01:53:00 PM »
Thanks for the replies guys... I kinda figured it was BS especially because this info was given to me in an email today BEFORE I moved out and BEFORE they have even seen the place...

They are basically just telling me that they just charge this no matter what so get ready

I kinda want to let them know that I will be contesting these charges before they send the letter. Then hopefully they don't find anything else wrong and will just give me my deposit without dealing with sending certified letters back and forth contesting deductions.

arebelspy

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Re: Why do they always try to take the security deposit?
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2016, 02:23:10 PM »
Depends what's in the lease.  My leases specify the tenant needs to have the carpet professionally cleaned on move-out and provide me with the receipt.

General wear-and-tear is a BS charge, but cleanliness isn't, necessarily, depending on the terms of the lease.

Definitely agree with the poster who said to document everything.
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CmFtns

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Re: Why do they always try to take the security deposit?
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2016, 02:56:33 PM »
Depends what's in the lease.  My leases specify the tenant needs to have the carpet professionally cleaned on move-out and provide me with the receipt.

General wear-and-tear is a BS charge, but cleanliness isn't, necessarily, depending on the terms of the lease.

Definitely agree with the poster who said to document everything.

My lease didn't mention anything about automatic cleaning fees but also while reading about this issue I have found that a lot of people actually do include a clause about carpet cleaning, but these types of charges deducted from a security deposit may not even be legal as decided by various cases in different states.

they conclude stuff like:
Automatic charges go beyond the type of agreement the parties may, and are an illegal provision and unenforceable because they do not require the landlord to prove any specific damage as a result of the tenantsí use of the rental unit.

Syonyk

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Re: Why do they always try to take the security deposit?
« Reply #9 on: February 29, 2016, 07:47:32 PM »
Shit, I'm happy if they don't go after me for charges beyond the amount of the deposit.  That's probably the case in my current rental.  To be fair, the back yard did die, so... what, $1000, $1500 for re-sodding 300 square feet is probably going to show up, assuming my attempts to re-seed it are not successful.

Plus carpet wear, a broken tile or two around the fireplace, "I know you had pets because I was charging you monthly per-ferret, so clearly the whole carpet has to be replaced," and whatever else she can find.

I've already written off the whole $1850 deposit and will be happy if I don't have to show up in small claims court for the rest of it, since that's going to be a 1000 mile round trip.

I only got my full deposit back once, and that's because the ceiling collapsed, the place was uninhabitable, I involved the campus legal services, and still had to threaten small claims court to get my deposit back.

humbleMouse

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Re: Why do they always try to take the security deposit?
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2016, 05:18:05 PM »
As a student of economics I understand all the bullshit landlords have to go through and I honestly never expect to get a penny of my deposit back.  I am just happy to have a place to live where the heat is paid and I don't have to worry about any administrative bullshit. 

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Re: Why do they always try to take the security deposit?
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2016, 06:20:16 PM »
Another landlord here reporting in. We've had 4 vacancies in the 4 years we've had rentals and in all cases 100% of the deposit was returned. Our tenants left their units spotless, and I believe all had pets. So not every landlord tries to rip tenants off. Now we do use a PM and they handle tenant relations, we do all the maintenance. I assume they know the law and follow it:)

VAR

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Re: Why do they always try to take the security deposit?
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2016, 05:11:41 AM »
I've always left my places spotless. And every time but one I got the BS run around.
The last one was super annoying because I got dinged for the stains (? grey marks?) on the bathtub that were there before I moved in. And things like not perfectly cleaning to a sparkly shine the silver track stuff on the windows. Which again - were nasty when I moved in.
But I was moving across country and like people have said - I just wrote if off because it's not worth my time to fight over it.

Once upon a time, I did have 1 landlord actually take the time to say to us "WOW, you left it cleaner than we gave it to you!"...Once.
I have not rented places with high deposits - not because I couldn't pay the deposit. But that's never a good sign to me about how the landlord works. It's often THE deciding factor between two places. I try to mentally assume all the deposit will be under BS contention.

monarda

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Re: Why do they always try to take the security deposit?
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2016, 08:58:19 AM »
In general, we return the full deposits. Sometimes we hold $100-$150 for cleaning.  About 60 days before a tenant moves out we supply them with a move-out cleaning checklist to illustrate exactly what we expect (mostly kitchen and bathroom standards of clean. Also dusting/washing the window blinds)  If all items are addressed pretty well, we return the full deposit. If we have to spend more than an hour to bring the place to our standards, then we charge.  We never charge for carpet cleaning. We do charge if there's a carpet spill/stain that destroys the carpet.

The most we've ever charged was when a tenant's teen-aged daughter spilled an entire bottle of fingernail polish on the carpet and had also painted obscenities in nail polish on the walls.

jaizan

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Re: Why do they always try to take the security deposit?
« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2016, 02:50:29 PM »
I've never deducted anything for wear and tear, or cleaning.

My tenants hand me the keys, I hand them the deposit and we're done.   The only cases where I did deduct money were when people who moved out early and at about 3 days notice.

Tabaxus

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Re: Why do they always try to take the security deposit?
« Reply #15 on: March 12, 2016, 10:01:17 AM »
Depends what's in the lease.  My leases specify the tenant needs to have the carpet professionally cleaned on move-out and provide me with the receipt.

General wear-and-tear is a BS charge, but cleanliness isn't, necessarily, depending on the terms of the lease.

Definitely agree with the poster who said to document everything.

In some states, a lease provision requiring carpet cleaning on move-out would be illegal (and would actually subject the landlord to penalties/fees).  I would consider actual carpet cleaning on a move-out to be a general wear and tear item unless the tenant left the carpet inappropriately dirty given the length of the lease. 

CmFtns

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Re: Why do they always try to take the security deposit?
« Reply #16 on: March 15, 2016, 10:26:52 AM »
Just wanted to give an update:

I left the place absolutely perfect and was also upfront with landlord that I would not roll over and accept carpet cleaning or general cleaning charges on the deposit because I was going to leave it as good or better than when I moved in.

When she inspected she said it looked great and I ended up getting the full deposit back so this one worked out =)

Embok

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Re: Why do they always try to take the security deposit?
« Reply #17 on: March 16, 2016, 04:19:07 AM »
We return the full deposit unless the tenant has left early, spilled on the hardwood floors, broken tiles, left things behind or filthy, or -- my favorite to date -- drilled holes in our plaster walls and not fixed them properly and painted to match (the one time that happened we'd totally redone the unit and freshly painted it & tenant drilled about 15 holes in various places, apparently to add ornamental shelves, and patched with toothpaste).

asiljoy

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Re: Why do they always try to take the security deposit?
« Reply #18 on: March 16, 2016, 07:56:46 AM »
Does it depend on what state you're in? During my college/directly post college years I lived in 6 apartments in 7 years and got my full deposit back from all of them without hassle/much cleaning beyond moving all my crap out, vacuuming/dusting. Some of these were professionally managed buildings and others were just renting a room in someone's house.

TheOldestYoungMan

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Re: Why do they always try to take the security deposit?
« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2016, 03:33:31 PM »
The last apartment I rented a neighbor that moved out sent me an email to the same effect as the OP, warning me about how the place was hassling them over getting the security deposit back.

I don't really mind knowing that up front.  Freed me up to make all the modifications I wanted to the space.  Installed exercise equipment in the ceiling, wasn't particularly careful moving out, or even in occupying the apartment.  Some vigorous two person cardio left a dent in the drywall? Just move a bookshelf in front of it or hang up a poster.  No big deal.

clifp

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Re: Why do they always try to take the security deposit?
« Reply #20 on: March 17, 2016, 05:46:48 PM »
I've returned one deposit at 100% and two about 50%.  I do charge them cleaning fee cause except for the 100%, cause they needed to be cleaned in order rent the place again.

Repairs for my other tenants have been between 2 and 5 months, (replacing a water heater they stole and the water damage cause when they didn't bother to turn off the water when removing it, replacing doors and windows, plus the eviction cost and lost rent..)

FrugalShrew

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Re: Why do they always try to take the security deposit?
« Reply #21 on: March 17, 2016, 06:06:03 PM »
Does it depend on what state you're in? During my college/directly post college years I lived in 6 apartments in 7 years and got my full deposit back from all of them without hassle/much cleaning beyond moving all my crap out, vacuuming/dusting. Some of these were professionally managed buildings and others were just renting a room in someone's house.

Similar story. I've lived in 3 different apartments where I got full deposit back, and frankly the apartments did have a little wear and tear from me that I could have seen charging for. However, I am a neat and clean person, and I always deep clean the stove, fridge, cupboards, bathroom, etc. when I leave.

Also, make sure that you really, truly did clean the place and not damage it. I have been on the other side of this a few times, and several former tenants made a lot of noise about how everything was 100% clean and I'm just ripping them off. So I send them the photos of the crap in the fridge, the gunk stuck inside the cabinets, the filthy shower, the scratches in the flooring, and that's usually the end of it. I'm not saying that's you, I've never seen your apartment, but sometimes in the bustle of moving out people are not as detail oriented as they think they are.

I've always assumed that many people really don't realize how much work they leave behind for a landlord. Then again, maybe I've just been lucky.

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Re: Why do they always try to take the security deposit?
« Reply #22 on: March 17, 2016, 08:34:04 PM »
I agree with the easy money grab, low contested rate.  Most will cave with a formal looking letter.  Even look up an attorney on line and send a dummy letter.