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So this is the story,

I lived in that apartment for 2 years. The apartment is in the Hartford area of Connecticut. My last day of the contract was December 31, 2012. I moved out all my stuff on December 22 and left the keys on December 23. When I left the keys, I just dropped them in a box on the management office. I did not go through the apartment with the management, and I think that was my mistake. And what put me at their hands. By law, they have 30 days to give my security deposit back. I gave them a forwarding address for them to send by mail the check. The management office knows that I will be far from Connecticut. I told them I was moving to Puerto Rico.

The check came around January 20. I was owed $1,005. The check was for $645. Basically, they discounted the following items:

- Kitchen faucet "plastic cold marker" missing $10.50 TRUE
- Kitchen cabinets refinish $42.00 FALSE The kitchen cabinets were left in the same condition and were old anyways
- Refrigerator chrome handle broken $29.50 FALSE The refrigerator and stove are old, probably early 90's. Did not broke the fridge.
- Kitchen entrance wood door scratches, nicks $31.00 FALSE The door was never scratched. It had scratches and was old.
- Hall closet door marks $31.00 FALSE Closet door were old, and I never scratched them
- Living room closet door nicks $31.00 FALSE Same as before, never did any damage to them
- Bedroom carpet burn $75.00 FALSE I don't even know where the "burn" was, or how I manage to burn a carpet.
- Bedroom window screen repair $31.50 I can't be certain about this one, so I would concede here.
- Bedroom broken outlet $34.50 TRUE I did brake this.
- Clean bath medicine cabinet $31.50 FALSE It is an old cabinet, and it was cleaned when I cleaned the bathroom
- Bathtub tile scratches $51.00 FALSE I cleaned the bathroom and did not do any scratches
- Clean cabinets under sink $31.00 FALSE I did clean this, but I won't fight this because they gave me this credit for this item. However, the fact that they claimed this, when I am 100% sure it was left clean, tells me they are just taking advantage of me.
- Master bedroom closet shelf/pole contact paper $31.00 They are charging me for putting contact paper when that was there when I moved in! Again, they gave me this credit. When I called, the manager recalled that being there.

I must say, I did not have any pets. No cats. They claimed I scratched all the apartment (doors, metal closet door, kitchen cabinets!). That is just false. When I moved in, I was given a paper with all the stuff I needed to check. I checked the door. But I just checked that the door was functional! Not that it was new, or without scratches. I put the door was OK. It seems I needed to take pictures of doors, closets, cabinets, bathroom tiles, the works. I have lived in 2 previous apartments in CT and I always got my FULL security check back, without any of this issues. So this is this particular management office taking advantage of a tenant that had to leave in a rush and give the apartment back in a hurry.

I called them 2 weeks ago, about February 28, 2013. I had been traveling and could not solve this issue before this. I explained to the manager that I disagreed with most of the charges, and told her which ones I do agree with (broken outlet, kitchen faucet plastic lid, and broken window screen). That would amount to 10.50 + 31.50 + 34.50 = $76.50 on charges. I would practically get most of my $1,005 back! She said she would call me the next week. It took a little more than a week, but today she called. For some reason, my phone did not rang, so I got a voice mail. She said that after going through the apartment again, she was going to send me a check for $93.75. That falls way too short. I think I am owed about $284.00. It is not even half, plus it is BS. All that scratches charges are made up! I called back as soon as I got the message, but I was told she left for the day, to call tomorrow. The person on the phone probably mentioned her my name, and she knew she would be on the phone for a long time with me. I can understand that. On the positive side, I can get advice from the FW folks.

My question is this: is there anything left for me to do? Can I threaten to go to court and contest these charges? I am not that familiar with landlord laws in CT. I just know the security deposit has to be given back within 30 days. But I don't know what happens when you get bogus charges. I still have not cashed the check they sent me for $645. Maybe if they see I am taking this further, they would reason it is not worth it? Also, if anyone know how much time I have to go to court, let me know. I am outside of CT now, but I would love to represent myself in front of a judge.

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obviously standard judgement collection rules apply. and OP has nothing to do with someone not paying the mortgage

vipercon (Mar. 19, 2013 @ 4:52p) |

You learned a lesson that wasn't terribly expensive. Move on now.

suezyque (Mar. 19, 2013 @ 6:50p) |

that would probably have been my advise too but considering I just filed a district case with jury demand over $800 I ca... (more)

vipercon (Mar. 19, 2013 @ 8:05p) |

no. give up. move on. you have wasted enough time.

-Agreed. You can't do anything, read 100 other similar threads.
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If you dind't take pictures "before" and "after" it will be your word against theirs, and you will have to travel to CT to go to small claims court.

Is it worth your time and money?

Always take pictures. And when you break something, report it, so that it can be fixed while you are living there.

Always assume the following when renting:
1) You'll be lucky to see any of your deposit back
2) You're rent is going up after your lease ends

I will probably won't be going back to CT to go to small claims court. My thinking is that I can bluff them, so if they think I will go to court, they may concede on the charges. Is that my only option? I can send them a letter with a CT address (friends) so they think I am right there.

Out2Sea said:   Always assume the following when renting:
1) You'll be lucky to see any of your deposit back
2) You're rent is going up after your lease ends
1 is less true in Michigan, where taking SD for damages the LL has to goto court. I have rented two apts in MI and gotten 100% back both times.

554.613 Action for damages; retention of security deposit; waiver.
Sec. 13.

(1) Within 45 days after termination of the occupancy and not thereafter the landlord may commence an action in a court of competent jurisdiction for a money judgment for damages which he has claimed or in lieu thereof return the balance of the security deposit held by him to the tenant or any amount mutually agreed upon in writing by the parties. A landlord shall not be entitled to retain any portion of a security deposit for damages claimed unless he has first obtained a money judgment for the disputed amount or filed with the court satisfactory proof of an inability to obtain service on the tenant or unless:

With all that nit picking, did they have as thorough of a move in inspection and provide you opportunity to sign off on that inspection.

You should be able to file and get them served from afar, but that will cost you.

I've found people who won't buge, start moving after the process server shows up with their court date.

Ok so when you moved in :

noelandres said:   When I moved in, I was given a paper with all the stuff I needed to check. I checked the door. But I just checked that the door was functional! Not that it was new, or without scratches. I put the door was OK. It seems I needed to take pictures of doors, closets, cabinets, bathroom tiles, the works.

and then when you moved out :

noelandres said:   ... I did not go through the apartment with the management, and I think that was my mistake.

So it seems you never did a walk through with the manager/landlord either when moving in or when moving out.

When you moved in it appears they just gave you a checklist for you to fill out and you wrote 'OK' on stuff.

Then when you moved out you did nothing as far as walk through.


But it sounds like everything listed as damaged by the landlord is described by you as 'old' and one thing at least the kitchen door you said it 'had scratches and was old'.

Doesn't seem there was any proper record of condition of the property at move and you didn't do anything at move out. So the landlord just walked through and noted any damage that you didn't record and blamed you for it. Cause you didn't say otherwise.

Is this a large apartment complex with a property manager? If so the manager or employee doing the walkthrough has no no person recollection or knowledge that the damage was there before you.

For example it sounds like you do recall that the kitchen door was scratched. If you didn't note those scratches at move in then they'd have no reason to think it existed before you.

I know how upset you must be. Same thing happened to me when I rented a condo. It was bank owned when I signed the lease. Then is was sold to a young attorney who was a hard ass. I gave notice to move out and he kept the entire deposit without any justification. I moved out early and I came back to clean up only to learn he had hired workmen to begin updating the condo. He accused me of stealing every light bulb in the place. I told him I most certainly did not steal light bulbs and that the condo was mine until the end of the month and why hadn't he communicated with me that he was having workmen come over.

anyways, I talked with another attorney. I didn't have much to fight with since he was not the owner at the start. I really despise landlords that screw tenants over. I had a better experience with an apartment complex...they agreed I did a great job of cleaning the apartment and hardly took anything off the deposit.

I'd consider myself lucky only being out $280

Yes you can file small claims and hope that once they are served they call to settle with you. It's likely not worth their time either and they'll just cut you a check if you agree to dismiss your case

bogus?

did you just watch bill and teds excellent adventure on TNT for petes sake?

jerosen said:   Ok so when you moved in :

noelandres said:   When I moved in, I was given a paper with all the stuff I needed to check. I checked the door. But I just checked that the door was functional! Not that it was new, or without scratches. I put the door was OK. It seems I needed to take pictures of doors, closets, cabinets, bathroom tiles, the works.

and then when you moved out :

noelandres said:   ... I did not go through the apartment with the management, and I think that was my mistake.

So it seems you never did a walk through with the manager/landlord either when moving in or when moving out.

When you moved in it appears they just gave you a checklist for you to fill out and you wrote 'OK' on stuff.

Then when you moved out you did nothing as far as walk through.


But it sounds like everything listed as damaged by the landlord is described by you as 'old' and one thing at least the kitchen door you said it 'had scratches and was old'.

Doesn't seem there was any proper record of condition of the property at move and you didn't do anything at move out. So the landlord just walked through and noted any damage that you didn't record and blamed you for it. Cause you didn't say otherwise.

Is this a large apartment complex with a property manager? If so the manager or employee doing the walkthrough has no no person recollection or knowledge that the damage was there before you.

For example it sounds like you do recall that the kitchen door was scratched. If you didn't note those scratches at move in then they'd have no reason to think it existed before you.


You got it right. I was given some paperwork in which I marked the condition of what was on that paper. I did mark the door as OK. But for me OK meant that the door was functional. Not that it was new. In other words, I was not that nitpicky when going through the checklist. I went through the checklist on my own, and then gave them the paper back and we both signed it.

When I left the apartment, I did not go through a walkover with the manager. It is a big apartment complex (+50 apartments would be my guess). I did not have an option, had to vacate that Sunday and they do not work on Sunday.

They say they have pictures of the doors, closet doors, cabinet doors, and apparently in those pictures they are new, and now they are scratched. But this is a lie and those pictures must be old. They did not show me those pictures when I signed the papers with the initial walkthrough checklist. So how can those pictures hold on court? They can be from 1990 from all we know. And probably they are.

SUCKISSTAPLES said:   I'd consider myself lucky only being out $280

Yes you can file small claims and hope that once they are served they call to settle with you. It's likely not worth their time either and they'll just cut you a check if you agree to dismiss your case


Actually, I'm out $380. I say I'm out only $280 because after I called them, she went through again and came back telling me she was giving me $100 more.

In case I decide to threaten to going to small claims court, should I wait until I get the $100 check?

OliverQuackenbush said:   bogus?

did you just watch bill and teds excellent adventure on TNT for petes sake?


What are you talking about dude? All my FW questions are real. Who has time for all this aggravation when it is fake?

noelandres said:   OliverQuackenbush said:   bogus?

did you just watch bill and teds excellent adventure on TNT for petes sake?


What are you talking about dude? All my FW questions are real. Who has time for all this aggravation when it is fake?


LOL...evidently not! However I have a feeling the movie is in Quacks DVR.

To be honest your first mistake may have been telling your landlord you were moving to PR. Puerto Ricans are almost as discriminated against in the Northeast as Mexicans in the Southwest.

Without a full set of pictures and real walk throughs before and after, you are both playing chicken--either arty can call the other's bluff. They just called yours figuring you will do nothing about it.

You are only missing $280 of your deposit and you did not do walk-through or have photos from either before of after?
I would say you are very very lucky! Congrats and don't lose any sleep over it! And if you can learn from the experience, then that was one cheap lesson!

Well, I can still bluff about going to small claims court. It costs $90 to file. Maybe if they get served, they figure it is better to pay up the $280. But in that case, I would be down $90 for the court filing. In court, if i win I can claim the $90 of the file too. But I would prefer to avoid having to go to court, since that would mean I would spend money on a flight to CT. And to be honest, my probability of winning is not so high.

Maybe the best thing is to risk $90 in a bluff, see if it works and I get $280 more back, so net, I get $200 more. And if it does not work, I am down $90 more. I just hate when people take advantage of me or others.

I guess I should not have told them I was moving far away. From now on, never tell your old landlord you are leaving the state!

For a landlord to give you such a detailed list, you are not dealing with an amateur. You are going to lose trying to play court games. Take the extra money they are going to give you.

OP, you are really going to need strong proof to win in small claims. The landlord knows you moved out of state already -- this is going to cost you more in filing fees and plane trip than you will recover. If you have proof then you might get an attorney to write them a demand letter. without proof, you ave to consider yourself lucky that you are only out $280.

Please post your name and social security number so we can black list you. you sound like a nightmare to rent to.

bevo2k1 said:   Please post your name and social security number so we can black list you. you sound like a nightmare to rent to.

Please post your name and security deposit so we can black list you. You sound like a nightmare and no one would like to rent a box from you.

I wouldn't spend money to go to small claims unless you're pretty sure you'd win in small claims. Property managers can be in small claims on a routine basis so they really don't care if you threaten to sue them. If it costs $90 to file small claims then that bluff may just put you out $90 more than you're already losing.

I'd just cut my loses here. Its unfortunate, but I don't see you winning this. Especially since you're so far away.

Even if you did go to court what proof do you have? Your own move in sheet says the items were in 'ok' condition so the landlord only needs to document that they aren't in 'ok' condition when you moved out to charge you.

The only company in my experience which hasn't taken an extra penny from my deposit when I moved out (and I hear the same from others) is Archstone. The management was as nice during moving out as during signing the lease. Unusual indeed. Therefore I'm glad to recommend them here (they have properties in many cities across the country).

Try going on People's Court ....LOL they may pay your judgement!!

Next time ...Know the law

Take Pictures and Video before you move in of everything... with a newspaper dated that day.
Do an addendum to the contract with all per-existing damages noted and have the property manager/ landlord sign it.

When you move out..do the same: Take Pictures and Video before you move in of everything... with a newspaper dated that day.

Do a move in and move out list for every room and ask for a walk thru.

Another caveat...have a friend or witness go through the house with you both before and after!!

Landlords are trying to make a buck off of the good renters... I own a house in one state and rented in another.

One landlord was not paying the Mortgage when we originally signed the lease. I ended up with a leak in kitchen ... she would not fix and then the heat went out in the dead of winter... Needless to say, we did not get our deposit back, as we ended up moving out of state.

Next one, said he wanted to continue leasing to us on December 21st, and his Property Manager e-mailed us on the last day saying that our lease was up in 30 days... see ya later. 10 days before we moved, he said that he had the carpets professionally cleaned and wanted the same. It was not in the lease, and not in FL law. We cleaned the carpet ourselves and told the Property Manager that we expected the whole deposit back. We got the whole deposit back, because they knew I would go to court.

We left both places totally clean.



There are Bad Landlords and Bad Tenants.... Landlords ought to appreciate really good tenants...

ko4ka said:   The only company in my experience which hasn't taken an extra penny from my deposit when I moved out (and I hear the same from others) is Archstone. The management was as nice during moving out as during signing the lease. Unusual indeed. Therefore I'm glad to recommend them here (they have properties in many cities across the country).

Sorry to rain on the parade, but Archstone pretty much doesn't exist after this month. They sold 90%+ of their properties to Equity and AvalonBay. The remainder of the properties they sold off as individual transactions. I think they have a few remaining new developments that they will sell off once construction is complete (they are being pretty tight lipped about the entire thing). They might still own a portfolio in Germany, but there wasn't much news surrounding that.

GiftCard said:   Take Pictures and Video before you move in of everything... with a newspaper dated that day.

Or buy a newspaper on move in day, and make sure you save it until move out. Then take your photos with that paper and the condition on "move in" - actually move out day. Then change clothes and use a newspaper from the actual move out day.

Voila - the condition will match, and you get your deposit back!

GiftCard said:   Try going on People's Court ....LOL they may pay your judgement!!

You have to have an existing case to go to any TV court shows. So, OP will still have to file a small claims case, and then submit to the TV show and hope he gets picked. Chances of which are nill, since it is not TV worthy.

blueiedgod said:   GiftCard said:   Try going on People's Court ....LOL they may pay your judgement!!

You have to have an existing case to go to any TV court shows. So, OP will still have to file a small claims case, and then submit to the TV show and hope he gets picked. Chances of which are nill, since it is not TV worthy.


If they were withholding the deposit because you slept with the landlord's wife, that would give you a much better chance of being on the show

civ2k1 said:   Or buy a newspaper on move in day, and make sure you save it until move out. Then take your photos with that paper and the condition on "move in" - actually move out day. Then change clothes and use a newspaper from the actual move out day.

Voila - the condition will match, and you get your deposit back!


haha. That is why a newspaper is only good for proof of life. It shows the photo wastaken no earlier, but it could have been taken later.

Don't forget to look for technicalities in state law. For example, in my state the landlord must prove the deposit has been kept untouched in a seperate account the entire time you lived there. If not, automatic full refund.

vipercon said:   Don't forget to look for technicalities in state law. For example, in my state the landlord must prove the deposit has been kept untouched in a seperate account the entire time you lived there. If not, automatic full refund.

Automatic full refund if the landlord still has any money... which probably isn't the case if they didn't pay the mortgage.

dcg9381 said:   
Automatic full refund if the landlord still has any money... which probably isn't the case if they didn't pay the mortgage.


obviously standard judgement collection rules apply. and OP has nothing to do with someone not paying the mortgage

You learned a lesson that wasn't terribly expensive. Move on now.

suezyque said:   You learned a lesson that wasn't terribly expensive. Move on now.

that would probably have been my advise too but considering I just filed a district case with jury demand over $800 I can't really say much



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