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!