Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Finally heard back!

Image: http://ellabakercenter.org/sites/default/files/media/security-deposit-shutterstock.jpg

Although we moved out 8/13 and LL had 30 days to communciate any issues and/or return my security deposit with interest (Sept 13th), she missed that deadline-no communication at all, no explanation provided.  Finally, I sent a certified letter on Sept 29th, what I'm calling my second demand letter. I cc'd the Realtor as well. FYI, in CT, unless the LL can prove that she was unable to send the security deposit back due to extreeme circumstances (hospitalization for instance), I can sue for twice my security deposit.  

Oct 7, LL prepares a letter and a check for me, mails it certified mail on Oct 10th. I'll call it 3 weeks past due; I got it today. Enclosed was approx 82% of my security deposit and within the letter, a breakdown of 4 charges: 

-removal of the wood stove pipe (invoice attached) 
-gutter cleaning (ESTIMATE attached-no invoice) 
-broken window cranks (no documentation) 
-broken hinge/frame of living room louvered doors (no documentation) 

Leaving the wood stove discrepancy aside a moment, I am miffed about these "charges" that I view as bogus hits against my security deposit. 

1-gutters? nothing in lease requires me to clean them, they had plants growing in them when I moved in. I emailed LL about having them cleaned-no response, but she was always bad with communication. Locally, one can easily get someone to clean gutters (per some recent Facebook posts) for $50-$65. She is withholding $125. 

2-window cranks? I can only guess that she is referring to one of the kitchen crank windows that is "stripped" and won't open unless someone pulls it from outside. Her "handyman" looked at it, at my request, on her dime, and deemed it too expensive to fix-it'd have to stay as is. Crank in bathroom and Master bedroom windows (one each) that aforementioned handyman replaced parts of using generic and not the window manufacturer parts that never worked right? His "talents" were few and far between. As I told the realtor during my final walk thru, I strongly suspect that he has been commiting fraud, billing the long distance LL for work never done.

3-broken hinge/door frame? the one set of louvered doors was loose on the bottom hinge, we always kept it open as they rub against the new floor installed over an existing floor (you can see swish marks in the floor from a prior tenant). The screws in the hinge were coming out and rusty. Really? 

Kicker is that there is no clear info on the window cranks or door hinge and she's dinging me $300 for those items alone? 

Back to the contraversial wood stove: the lease was clear: anything that the tenant attaches to the building, if not removed (remember I had written permission to have the stove installed)becomes a permenant fixture to the property and therefor the LL's property. She chose to have it removed-so why should THE TENANT have to pay for her choice? 

I will call my divorce/tenant-landlord attorney and ask for a free consultation. I am tired, I need to sleep on this. Another idea, per my limited Internet research is to send another certified letter, stating my position above and demanding the remaining monies that I feel are rightfully mine. I just want to be done with that horrible LL, but fair is fair! 



Belinda said...

My first step would be...Would the cost of your attorney be more than the $300 the LL is holding back from you?

If that is not a concern, I would go after her for the $300. You have completely documented facts to back up everything you are stating.

Did you take pictures of the gutters before you moved in? Your lease has nothing about the gutters. She has no right to keep $125 for that. I feel like she is trying to take advantage of you for bringing up the issue when you were a tenant.

She is being completely unreasonable on these issues. I would go after her for sure if it would not cost you more money than you would get back. Even then I might consider it to send her a message that she cannot do this to her tenants.

Anonymous said...

Did you sign and deposit the returned check already? If you did that means you accepted your landlord's deductions. If you haven't, please consult your attorney before depositing. You may have to state "deposited under protest" or something like that to retain your rights to try to collect the $300 the landlord withheld.
Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Lawyer up - sounds like a wacko....gutters? What a pain!
Will be interesting to see what the realtor says....besides they were late getting back to you. If you are going to own property you need to do it right.

Catherine said...

My blood is boiling just reading this. Good luck and keep us posted!

HappyGrama said...

The letter idea is good, but have the lawyer send it, along with his or her comments and any documentation that you can provide.
Stuff like this just rankles me. I know you want it over with, but just based on principle, I would pursue this. What a bugger!

Mary Lou said...

As far as the gutters, since I believe you stated that landscaping, i.e. outside maintenance was your responsibility will she say the gutters fall under that category? Just a thought. I have no idea how this person thinks. Only trying to ferret out how she believes the gutters fall as your responsibility without putting it specifically in writing, but generalizing it since they are outside if you know what I mean.

thyme2save said...

An attorney's letterhead signals that you are serious, should you choose that route to take.

My relatives who are landlords somehow finish with paying more than I think they should. Laws are differ with states.

Marcia in rural WNY said...

About what you expected---she would pull something out of her hat to get more of your money. I certainly would fight her on it. Landlords who prey on people, thinking they don't know better, annoy the heck out of me. My DD complained once that there was water coming out of a ceiling light fixture. Landlady ignored her, so she called the health department next. OBVIOUS DANGER. Next time the landlady saw her, she said "You are evicted, you have 3 days to move out." Daughter, knowing she couldn't do that, said "do you have the court order?" She did leave, as there were obvious reasons to do so, but not within three days time! Not too many months later, the house was torn down. Maybe the health department found more problems. It was a lovely old house but it had been sadly neglected. It's now a parking lot for a nearby business.
I have faith that you will take further action against her. I'd be disappointed if you didn't.