Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Fiasco with our Deposit

I had always rented from an apartment complex/management company, where there was a rental agreement until my previous place. It was a house behind a house and my sister had rented there before, so I knew the landlord. It was a tiny 750 sq foot place, but cheap and did the job for the time being.

When move out day came, Jay turned in the keys to the landlord’s wife because the landlord was not available. Jay stopped by a few days later to talk to the landlord about our deposit and he was asleep. Then Jay called him at a later date and the landlord thought we had only given him a $300 deposit when in fact we gave him $500, said we were not getting all of it back and because Jay was having a hard time understanding the landlord’s broken English they hung up with the landlord saying he was going to call me. Almost a week went by and no word from the landlord so I had to call him. I told him I had a copy of the first check written to him for rent and our $500 deposit included and he was fine with the $500.00 amount. However, he wanted me to see the work he had done to the place and talk about the deposit. I agreed and drove the 26 miles (one way) to go have this chit chat with the man. Now if you know me, I am (for the most part) by the book type of gal when it comes to these types of things. I did my research and made sure I was well aware of my rights. Luckily Google helped me find the CA Department of Consumer Affairs: California Tenant Book. It’s a guide to rights and responsibility for both the tenant and landlord. From my reading I learned the landlord was already in violation. *sigh*

Let me back up a little bit, we had left the place clean (thanks to my Mom and niece for cleaning it), we had replaced the closet wood rail with a metal heavy duty one, left the liners on the new cabinets to protect them, and added a door mirror to the bedroom. I have been there since November 2007, always paid super early on rent, never said anything when they (illegally) connected my cable line to their house line or ask for some payment for using the cable services I paid for, was nice and courtesy with the whole family, gave my 30 day written notice and contact information. So… you could only imagine the look on my face when 1.) The landlord wanted me to pay for ALL the painting supplies and labor and refused to give me receipts and invoices for the work. What is wrong with this man? 2.) Down right refused to accept the CA Handbook that I had printed for him in Spanish so we could review and he could be informed for not only this situation but all other ones. He said his friend already told him the laws and he didn’t care about them.

He offered me half my deposit with no back up and naturally I refused to take it. I was beyond pissed and thought I was being more then fair with him for asking back-up for the amount he was not paying back. He was already passed the 21 days allot to give me this information and deposit anyways, so I was technically entitled to all my deposit. He tried to intimidate me, wouldn’t shake my hand and was down right unprofessional. Even after I told him that 1/3 of my deposit was $166 and maybe we could work with that number to deduct for paint, he said I owed him more. If you know me, you know what my next step was - See ya because this discussion is over!!!! I told him we would have to resolve this in court. The next day I sent me a certified letter recapping our Friday call and Monday's visit.

The next day I received two calls from his wife. She said that she wanted to settle this woman to women and I wasn’t a “nice” person for saying I was going to take them to court. Then she said we left the floor dirty and she needed to spend an extra 5 hours to clean the floor with a special chemical. Is she crazy? It’s a 750 sq ft place, how on God’s green earth can you spend 5 whole flippin' hours cleaning a floor? What is she using to clean this floor, a tooth brush? She asked me to make a deal with her and just give her a number on what I would like to pay her and her husband for their work. I told her I could not put a value on it, I needed receipts for the paint and invoice from them for their work done or to-be done. We had agreed that I would come clean the floors and get my full deposit back. She thought it was fair and had to run it by hubby. I got a call back and no deal. He just wanted to write a check. Then she mentioned the toilet was moving a little. I told her that was not our responsibility to fix. Are they seriously thinking that we need to do all the maintenance work too? I ended the call on the same note as I had with her husband - we will just resolve this in court.

So how did it all end? Yesterday, I got a call from the wife saying they were going to give us our full refund and wanted to avoid the court system and having negative feeling about everything.

Now let’s hope the check doesn’t bounce. Haha!


Vanessa said...

Just cashed the check and it was good! YAY! Now we just have to STILL wait for our refund check from Escrow... yup, I know.. it should have been taken care BEFORE we closed Escrow. *sigh*

cindy said...

omgggg. I want to shake these people. They should NOT be renting.

Flowtriss said...

OMG! That is insane! I cant believe how they were about the whole thing! They were rude and SO unprofessional! GEEZZ!!!! And... 5 hours on a floor? No way! #1, you guys were not that dirty for them to be cleaning the floor for 5 hours and #2 no one, and with that amount of space, "cleans" floors for 5 hours. Well.. unless it is a mansion. DAng! Glad that you are getting your full refund ;)

Jane Doe said...

Cindy: Tell me about it. Once I told my sister who rented from there she said he landlord was cool until it came time to move out. She said he was upset and acted different towards them. She didn't recall anything about their deposit situtation, but again she rented fom him before the remodel and rent was about $350 for her, so the deposit was probably half that.

Flowtriss: I couldn't believe how they were with the whole thing too. The landlord said I should've gave him the key, not his wife. But when i first moved in it was the wife I talked to and arranged the key pick up.

I totally agree with you that there was NO WAY it would take 5 hours to clean those floors. Just like Jay said, I think they knew they were over charging us and that's why they decided to give us the full refund.

Well, I learn a life lesson. No matter the situation, get something in writting!! It could've gotten ugly.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you stuck to your guns!! Way to go!!

Jane Doe said...

Thanks! I still feel a little bad that I got my whole refund. I know they missed out on some money, but I will get over it. I can't believe they wouldn't provide receipts/invoices. That would've settled the whole thing.