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Hello FW community
I am in GA and stayed at this apartment for 1 year and moved out on 11/30/12, which is the last day in my lease. I have cleaned the apartment really nice and taken photos as evidence.
As of today (1/8/13) I have not received my security deposit of 250$. Nor did I receive any written statement showing the deduction list of the deposit. This is a big corporate and runs a bunch of apartments in Atlanta. I gave the community manager move-out notice 2 months prior, which was requested by the manager and also required by the lease. I gave the forwarding address - my working address, for further communication. As of now, it is over 30 days, I just didnot know what happened to my deposit. So I pull up some GA laws online (link below). It looks to me I can claim lawfully a total of three times of the deposit (750$) for the landlord's failure to return the deposit or final statement within 30 days. But the law do have some statements that I donot fully understand and may work for the landlord's favor. So I am asking for advice on how to proceed with this.
The best way for me is to settle outside court, since I donot want to spend too much time to go to small claim court. As long as the landlord comes to an agreement on returning me the full amount (250$) plus a reasonable penalty, I can work it out by myself. The question is just, how much should I ask to make a little fortune, say, 300$?
by the way, this corporate have an attorney company handling their legal cases. I wonder whether these lawyers will come up with some tricks to work against me. I did not know a thing about this landlord law till today.

update:
I have called the number on their corporate website, but always nobody answered the phone, and the voice mail box is full. There is a contact message box webpage, but it seems to be informal. I want everything in writing.

http://law.justia.com/codes/georgia/2010/title-44/chapter-7/arti...

update 1/30/2013
I sent out the letter on 1/10, but never heard a thing back. Today (1/30) I went to their corporate office, they refused to cooperate by claiming the final statement was sent but was returned....This is a big lie.
I then contacted their legal representative, and got same response. I am so angry about this corporate sucker lying about having sent out the statement. What should I do next? any comments?

update:
The whole story that happened on the day I went to the corporate office is, I explained the situation and asked for my security deposit. this women working at front desk, acted a bit neverous, and did some search on her computer, and then pull my final statement out of a pile of files - this made me think they forgot to send the statement; And I saw my demand letter laying on her desk, opened - someone looked at it but ignored it, since I didnot get any reply in three weeks. This women denied my request, and went ahead to scan me a copy of the statement. I left without taking the statement.

I went home and emailed their legal representative. This shitty lawyer then emailed me a scanned copy of the final statement and "respectively but strongly" denied my request. There was some writing on the statement: "mailed to forwarding address; failed to give copy of notice on 1/30/13" - clearly this was just written on it, probably by that woman. The address on the final statement is correct. I never had problems with this address, which is where I work. I have all my bank and cc letters mailed there.

This shitty lawyer threatens me about quitting the pursue in court, since I will need to pay over 2000$ for their legal fee. I asked the lawyer to show me the envelope with postal stamp on it, since this is the only thing that does not lie. I mean, you can lie about sending the letter by putting any date on it as you like. I also told him if he showed me that, I will stop immediately. But the lawyer refused, and said GA laws does not require that.

Now I donot think they have the evidence showing letter being sent. They are just building up all the lies. But I am also thinking, if they want to make up stuff, they may be able to use a different envelope with the rightful date on it, and stated that the statement was sent within the 30 days but was returned with that envelope.

This is just beyond what I expected. I am facing a gang equipped with laws as their weapon. and for god sake, it is just 250$. now it is no longer a matter of money, but about justice. should I keep going for it?

To add on the statement, my security deposit was deducted to negative by all kinds of charges and fees, which I didnot even have a chance to deny...however they didnot send to collection. This clearly shows, for corporate chain money suckers, they will take the last bit from you, which is the security deposit.

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You seem scared of their lawyer, that's why they have them, to give you some tough talk and hope you give up. Did you se... (more)

mwa423 (Feb. 04, 2013 @ 12:13p) |

In certain lawsuits, such as consumer protection lawsuits, remedies available to the plaintiff can include reasonable at... (more)

OliverQuackenbush (Feb. 04, 2013 @ 2:22p) |

yes man up for petes sake

OliverQuackenbush (Feb. 04, 2013 @ 2:24p) |

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Pick up the phone and ask if they have mailed the deposit. Don't go on the offensive and ask for a penalty from them. It is way too early for that and will only antagonize them.

satchelsofgold said:   Pick up the phone and ask if they have mailed the deposit. Don't go on the offensive and ask for a penalty from them. It is way too early for that and will only antagonize them.
tried to call a couple of times, but no body answered.

Mail them a letter? Swing by and talk to them?

Question 1) did the landlord (or you) perform a walkout inspection? If so, do you have a checklist showing any damage?
Question 2) Do you know if the landlord put the deposit in escrow?

There are few exceptions that permit the landlord to keep the deposit.
If 1 and 2 above occurred. AND if the landlord can prove they tried to refund you your deposit. They could keep it after 90 days of the attempt to return the deposit.
However, if there was no walk-out inspection, and you don't have a copy of a walkout checklist, OR if the landlord co-mingled did not keep the deposit in escrow, the landlord forfeits any right to keep the deposit after 90 days.

My recommendation is to send the company a letter via certified mail (SOON, before the 90 day window closes) stating that it's been more than 30 days since you moved out, and per ß 44-7-34 of the GA state code, they are in violation, and you request your refunded deposit, and provide your correct mailing address again.

You haven't got a statement yet

If your first response is to sue for $750, you can be assured they will come up with a list of over $750 in damages to counterclaim

You want to first get their statement showing the "damages " they claim are $250 or less.

The manager should have done the inspection, and I was not there. It doesnot need me. But I didnot receive any statement of damage, since the GA law says I need to sign that statement for the charge to be made out of the deposit. So I assume there is no damage checklist. I cleaned the apartment really good.
the lease says that the deposit was kept in a bond. I guess this is pretty standard.
I will write up a letter and explain the situation. Can I fax the letter to them, instead of mailing? Should I send it to the corporate office or the leasing office of the apartment I stayed in?


imbatman said:   Question 1) did the landlord (or you) perform a walkout inspection? If so, do you have a checklist showing any damage?
Question 2) Do you know if the landlord put the deposit in escrow?

There are few exceptions that permit the landlord to keep the deposit.
If 1 and 2 above occurred. AND if the landlord can prove they tried to refund you your deposit. They could keep it after 90 days of the attempt to return the deposit.
However, if there was no walk-out inspection, and you don't have a copy of a walkout checklist, OR if the landlord co-mingled did not keep the deposit in escrow, the landlord forfeits any right to keep the deposit after 90 days.

My recommendation is to send the company a letter via certified mail (SOON, before the 90 day window closes) stating that it's been more than 30 days since you moved out, and per ß 44-7-34 of the GA state code, they are in violation, and you request your refunded deposit, and provide your correct mailing address again.

SUCKISSTAPLES said:   You haven't got a statement yet

If your first response is to sue for $750, you can be assured they will come up with a list of over $750 in damages to counterclaim

You want to first get their statement showing the "damages " they claim are $250 or less.


I understand. But it is over 30 days, and I assume they lost their opportunity to claim what they deserve - the final water bill and any other fees they can come up with.

peteron said:   


I will write up a letter and explain the situation. Can I fax the letter to them, instead of mailing?

Wtf ? Why would you want to fax rather than mail if your plan is to sue ? If anything you should use certified mail to show you are serious and so you have your evidence ready for court .

Companies know that once people start using certified mail , they are serious about the issue . Phone calls faxes and emails are ignored

SUCKISSTAPLES said:   peteron said:   


I will write up a letter and explain the situation. Can I fax the letter to them, instead of mailing?

Wtf ? Why would you want to fax rather than mail if your plan is to sue ? If anything you should use certified mail to show you are serious and so you have your evidence ready for court .

Companies know that once people start using certified mail , they are serious about the issue . Phone calls faxes and emails are ignored


Thanks. Will do. forgive me newbie.

SUCKISSTAPLES said:   You haven't got a statement yet

If your first response is to sue for $750, you can be assured they will come up with a list of over $750 in damages to counterclaim

You want to first get their statement showing the "damages " they claim are $250 or less.


GA law is a little iffy about this.
It says the landlord has three days form move out to do the inspection. Then tenant has 5 days from move out (an additional 2 days) in order to ascertain the accuracy of the list.
I would say that if the landlord hasn't provided a list within 5 days, there's no way to enforce this as the tenant cannot ascertain the accuracy of the list. Per ß 44-7-35 b., if the landlord doesn't provide the list, they forfeit within the time periods stated (3 days), they forfeit the rights to keep the deposit.


granted IANAL, and you are.
I'm just a landlord in Atlanta.

I have written this letter. how does it look?


To whom it may concern,

I am a previous tenant at the xxx Apartments (unit #xxx) between 12/01/2011 and 11/30/2012. As required, I gave the sixty-day move-out notice to the Ms. xxx the community manager and provided her the forwarding address (xxx). I moved out and returned the keys to Ms. xxx on 11/30/2012. The apartment was cleaned in good shape with no damages, except ordinary wear to the carpet. I have taken photos of the cleaned apartment on 11/30/2012 as evidence.

As of today (01/08/2013), I have not received my security deposit in the amount of $250.00, or a written statement of the deduction of the deposit. Georgia Law (O.C.G.A. 44-7-34) requires the security deposit held by landlord should be returned to tenant within one month (30 days) after the termination of the residential lease. According to O.C.G.A. 44-7-35 (cited below), failure to do so results in forfeiture of the landlordís rights to withhold any portion of the security deposit, and the landlord is liable to the tenant in the amount of three times the sum improperly held, which is $750.00. I thereby request a payment in cashier check or money order of $xxx before 01/30/2013 to the provided forwarding address. I will promptly sue to small claims court if no payment is received by 01/30/2013.

^ you may want to start out by deleting the bit about triple damages and the threat to sue. You catch more flies with honey. Coming out swinging with a threat to sue may not cause them to cough up your money.

change this sentence
"As of today (01/08/2013), I have not received my security deposit in the amount of $250.00, or a written statement of the deduction of the deposit. Georgia Law (O.C.G.A. 44-7-34) requires the security deposit held by landlord should be returned to tenant within one month (30 days) after the termination of the residential lease."
to
"As of today (01/08/2013), I have not received my security deposit in the amount of $250.00, or a written statement of the deduction of the deposit. Georgia Law (O.C.G.A. 44-7-34) requires the security deposit held by landlord should be returned to tenant at the address provided above within 30 days after the termination of the residential lease."


possibly leave it at that.

peteron said:   I have written this letter. how does it look?


To whom it may concern,

I am a previous tenant at the xxx Apartments (unit #xxx) between 12/01/2011 and 11/30/2012. As required, I gave the sixty-day move-out notice to the Ms. xxx the community manager and provided her the forwarding address (xxx). I moved out and returned the keys to Ms. xxx on 11/30/2012. The apartment was cleaned in good shape with no damages, except ordinary wear to the carpet. I have taken photos of the cleaned apartment on 11/30/2012 as evidence.

As of today (01/08/2013), I have not received my security deposit in the amount of $250.00, or a written statement of the deduction of the deposit. Georgia Law (O.C.G.A. 44-7-34) requires the security deposit held by landlord should be returned to tenant within one month (30 days) after the termination of the residential lease. According to O.C.G.A. 44-7-35 (cited below), failure to do so results in forfeiture of the landlordís rights to withhold any portion of the security deposit, and the landlord is liable to the tenant in the amount of three times the sum improperly held, which is $750.00. I thereby request a payment in cashier check or money order of $xxx before 01/30/2013 to the provided forwarding address. I will promptly sue to small claims court if no payment is received by 01/30/2013.


Get rid of the bold. Don't leave yourself open to argument about damage to the apartment. If you think that the statutory timeline for them to claim a deduction for damages has passed, whether or not you damaged the apartment is irrelevant.

No need to threaten to sue, either. My first letter would be a lot friendlier than this.

revised version:



To whom it may concern,

I am a previous tenant at the xxx Apartments (unit #xxx) between 12/01/2011 and 11/30/2012. As required, I gave the sixty-day move-out notice to the Ms. xxx the community manager and provided her the forwarding address (xxx). I moved out and returned the keys to Ms. xxx on 11/30/2012. Georgia Law (O.C.G.A. 44-7-33) states an inspection should be made within three business days after termination of occupancy with a comprehensive list of any damages done to the apartment, and that the landlord and the tenant should sign the list. I have not received any inspection statement within five business days after the termination of occupancy at the address provided above.

As of today (01/08/2013), I have not received my security deposit in the amount of $250.00, or a written statement of the deduction of the deposit. Georgia Law (O.C.G.A. 44-7-34) requires the security deposit held by landlord should be returned to tenant at the address provided above within 30 days after the termination of the residential lease. According to O.C.G.A. 44-7-35 (cited below), failure to do so results in forfeiture of the landlordís rights to withhold any portion of the security deposit, and the landlord is liable to the tenant in the amount of three times the sum improperly held, which is $750.00. I thereby request a payment in cashier check or money order of $xxx before 01/30/2013 to the provided forwarding address.

Honestly, you come off very aggressive. I think it's pretty clear that you're fishing for the $750 even though they're only a week or so behind.

To be clear, I don't think that landlords should be able to just keep the money and certainly they should repay your deposit. But I also think that you would be better served to initially request just the $250 (after 30 days I don't think they should be able to withhold anything). If they ignore this, then you should sue them.

Sounds like you are bringing a gun to a knife fight.

Aren't some states actually 60 days, not 30?

ShaneM said:   Aren't some states actually 60 days, not 30?

maybe, but GA is 30.

your revised version still has the "my boxing gloves are on" message. so go ahead and send it and let us know what their lawyers response is.

like 24 other people have mentioned, i would recommend to remove the fighting words so that the receptionist can read it and expedite your refund herself.

Just my opinion, IANAL, but if I were you, I would write something nice and simple so it doesn't get immediately sent to their legal department (as you hinted in your OP...). I would try for the easy $250 first vs. the tougher $250 + penalties.

"Dear Sir/Madam,

As mutually agreed on, I moved out of ____ on ____ at the end of my lease with > 60 days notice.

Please return my security deposit of $250 to the following address:
(address)

I will follow-up within _____ business days if I do not hear a response.

Thank you,
peteron"

Since it's cheap, I would send it certified mail so you know if they received it (others can chime in if this is useful or not). If they don't respond, go from there.

appreciate all the feedbacks. I intended to be aggressive, since there has been a long story about how this corporate obtained the apartment a few months after I lived there, and when I started a second lease, they did certain changes that I despise. examples are monthly trash fee of 25$ - yes, only for trash; water bill is ridiculously high, higher than electricity, since water bill is split between several households - and no way to dispute it....I can go on, but you get what I mean - corporate chain is money sucker!

peteron said:   appreciate all the feedbacks. I intended to be aggressive, since there has been a long story about how this corporate obtained the apartment a few months after I lived there, and when I started a second lease, they did certain changes that I despise. examples are monthly trash fee of 25$ - yes, only for trash; water bill is ridiculously high, higher than electricity, since water bill is split between several households - and no way to dispute it....I can go on, but you get what I mean - corporate chain is money sucker!

I don't think anyone is saying you should be nice for the sake of being nice, but rather, you should be nice because at this point it presents the best chance that you will get your money back with minimal hassle. If you just want to make them feel bad you can leave them negative reviews or put a flaming bag of poo outside their management office--after you cash your deposit check, of course.

LOL - looks like you are more focused on getting $750 rather than getting your $250 back. Might end up getting neither!

I wish my security deposit was only $250!!!! sheesh!

Regardless of the law, the judge in small claims court is going to want to see a good-faith effort on your part to get the deposit back. Floydian's letter would be a good start. Give them a week from the date you mail the letter. If you don't hear from them in ten days, send a more aggressive letter by certified mail. If don't hear from them ten days after that, take them to court.

no, I am not into the 750$. I am gonna take dover's idea, first start with a regular mail and nice letter. i just dont wanna spend too much time on dealing with this shit company.

peteron said:   The manager should have done the inspection, and I was not there. It doesnot need me. But I didnot receive any statement of damage, since the GA law says I need to sign that statement for the charge to be made out of the deposit. So I assume there is no damage checklist. I cleaned the apartment really good.
the lease says that the deposit was kept in a bond. I guess this is pretty standard.
I will write up a letter and explain the situation. Can I fax the letter to them, instead of mailing? Should I send it to the corporate office or the leasing office of the apartment I stayed in?


You mentioned a bond. Are you sure you didn't purchase a surety bond in lieu of a security deposit? In that case you wouldn't receive any refund and the $250 was your cost for the bond purchase.

http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1202125/

https://www.suredeposit.com/public/residents/default.aspx

peteron said:   no, I am not into the 750$. I am gonna take dover's idea, first start with a regular mail and nice letter. i just dont wanna spend too much time on dealing with this shit company.
No...don't send by regular mail...send it by REGISTERED mail. That way you will have an official signed receipt that someone from the company actually received the envelope with your letter.

WashingtonState said:   peteron said:   no, I am not into the 750$. I am gonna take dover's idea, first start with a regular mail and nice letter. i just dont wanna spend too much time on dealing with this shit company.
No...don't send by regular mail...send it by REGISTERED mail. That way you will have an official signed receipt that someone from the company actually received the envelope with your letter.


Certified, not Registered...

Go to the landlord/tenant court and file a civil complaint against the landlord . Bring a copy of ur lease agreement and the bank account number where the management company has ur money in escrow. Regardless of what u have just.file the complaint , they will.have 2 weeks to a month to respond and.if they don't respond, a court date will be set. If they don't show up an arrest warrant will be issued. The court may even compensate you since ur the victim here .

peteron said:   I have written this letter. how does it look?


To whom it may concern,

I am a previous tenant at the xxx Apartments (unit #xxx) between 12/01/2011 and 11/30/2012. As required, I gave the sixty-day move-out notice to the Ms. xxx the community manager and provided her the forwarding address (xxx). I moved out and returned the keys to Ms. xxx on 11/30/2012. The apartment was cleaned in good shape with no damages, except ordinary wear to the carpet. I have taken photos of the cleaned apartment on 11/30/2012 as evidence.

As of today (01/08/2013), I have not received my security deposit in the amount of $250.00, or a written statement of the deduction of the deposit. Georgia Law (O.C.G.A. 44-7-34) requires the security deposit held by landlord should be returned to tenant within one month (30 days) after the termination of the residential lease. According to O.C.G.A. 44-7-35 (cited below), failure to do so results in forfeiture of the landlordís rights to withhold any portion of the security deposit, and the landlord is liable to the tenant in the amount of three times the sum improperly held, which is $750.00. I thereby request a payment in cashier check or money order of $xxx before 01/30/2013 to the provided forwarding address. I will promptly sue to small claims court if no payment is received by 01/30/2013.
Don't threaten the lawsuit in the letter. If that's the route you want to go, just go down to the small claims court and file the suit.

From another one of your messages, it seems like they're nickel and diming their tenants. Might as well sock it to 'em.

if you want only the $250, then show up at the office if their voicemail is full and ask for it.
if you want $750, file suit one day and serve them with a rule 68 offer for $750 on the next day. you better be damn sure you are entitled to $750 tho, otherwise you will end up owing them a whole bunch of money. but my secret rule 68 legal method gets things done real quick.

1. phone call
2. letter
3. letter
4. lawyer

Send them a letter what you are intend to do. If no reply, sue them in small claim 3x amount. After you win, collect. If still refuse to pay, put a lien to their property or car, toll the car, sell it.

OliverQuackenbush said:   if you want only the $250, then show up at the office if their voicemail is full and ask for it.
if you want $750, file suit one day and serve them with a rule 68 offer for $750 on the next day. you better be damn sure you are entitled to $750 tho, otherwise you will end up owing them a whole bunch of money. but my secret rule 68 legal method gets things done real quick.

Sounds a lot like rule 998 in ca

SUCKISSTAPLES said:   OliverQuackenbush said:   if you want only the $250, then show up at the office if their voicemail is full and ask for it.
if you want $750, file suit one day and serve them with a rule 68 offer for $750 on the next day. you better be damn sure you are entitled to $750 tho, otherwise you will end up owing them a whole bunch of money. but my secret rule 68 legal method gets things done real quick.

Sounds a lot like rule 998 in ca


They are advocating to go into federal court for the recovery of a 250$ security deposit?

EradicateSpam said:   WashingtonState said:   peteron said:   no, I am not into the 750$. I am gonna take dover's idea, first start with a regular mail and nice letter. i just dont wanna spend too much time on dealing with this shit company.
No...don't send by regular mail...send it by REGISTERED mail. That way you will have an official signed receipt that someone from the company actually received the envelope with your letter.


Certified, not Registered...


You see, my dear, all certified mail is registered... but registered mail is not necessarily certified.

Oh, Newman, I could listen to you talk about mail all day.

Skipping 27 Messages...
mwa423 said:   You seem scared of their lawyer, that's why they have them, to give you some tough talk and hope you give up. Did you seriously expect for them to say anything but what they told you? Send yourself a piece of paper today to the address they used and so if you take it to court you can show the address works. At this point, they have made your choices clear, sue in small claims or walk away with your tail between your legs.

yes man up for petes sake



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