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Old 09-06-2012, 10:19 AM   #1
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Default Security deposit issues

As always, when time allows, I come to MT looking for legal advice. lol

Some of you may remember a few of the issues I had at the last place we lived (chipmunk hell). Well the good news is, we moved on and we love where we live now. The bad news is, the ******* scumbag landlord and his assfuck realtor are playing with my security deposit.

Long story short, we waited the 30 days after we moved out for the check to arrive (as the lease stated it could take 30 days to receive). August comes and goes. I call the realtor and he explains to me that they're holding the security because of a scratch in the wall which is complete bs. I asked him how did he know it was from us when he never did a walk through before or after. I told him it was ok and that I'd have pictures for court.

I called the landlord and asked him what the deal was and he said he was pissed that I charged him $250 to spray for termites a few months back. I explained to him that if I had called an exterminator it would have been 4 times that. He said I should have called him and I reminded him that whenever I did for previous issues, I always ended up having to do them myself.

Words were exchanged and the conversation ended with him saying he didn't give a **** WHAT I have (regarding pictures) and me telling him that we'll see in court. Granted, I never been to court for anything like this, so I'm merely talking out of my ***, for now.

I called my realtor and she said that because we didn't get a formal letter within 30 days, stating WHY they were holding the security that I'm now entitled to double the amount. She said I could handle it in small claims court and represent myself, so that was the next plan of action.

Tuesday I received a call from his realtor asking me what my new address was and I told him they should already have it. When I mailed the last month's check I enclosed a letter stating my disgust for the experience living there and ended with my forwarding address. I made sure to take a picture of the check, letter and stamped envelope as well. Check was cashed but he never got my forwarding address? Hmmm.....

So anyways, I think the check coming to me probably had $250 pulled for the termites, which is bullshit. Now that I was told I may be entitled to double the security I feel like I want to fight it and take them to small claims. Any words of wisdom? Waste of time? Take whatever I can get back? Etc etc.

That was a rough year of my life living there. I'm the kind of guy that treats a place like it's my own. We cleaned it up and made it better and now this ******** thinks he can **** with me. Its not so much the $250 that matters, but more so the principle of everything.
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Old 09-06-2012, 10:21 AM   #2
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Take him to civil.
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Old 09-06-2012, 10:26 AM   #3
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If you have time to waste and willing to fight for your principles, take em to court.

Otherwise cut your losses.
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Old 09-06-2012, 11:15 AM   #4
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Given you are a busy person right now, weight the value of your time vs whatever money you can get back. If option #1 is chosen, let time pass by and then send a couple of dudes with pliers and a blowtorch to say hi.
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Old 09-06-2012, 11:21 AM   #5
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pulp fiction style ftw lol
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Old 09-06-2012, 11:43 AM   #6
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Send him pics of that flag you used to hang outside your house. I'm sure you'll get your money back quick, with an apology.
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Old 09-06-2012, 11:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 18psi View Post
If you have time to waste and willing to fight for your principles, take em to court.

Otherwise cut your losses.
This.

I had a similar situation at an apartment in college. I was in college, so 250 or 500 or whatever it was was a chunk of change. I sent some certified letters to both the landlord and the owner stating my intent to file small claims if for nothing else the pain in the butt it would cause them, or they could give me back the deposit and I'd go away.

I got my deposit back.

Then I called code enforcement for storing a propane barbecue pit under the stairs, Man that place was a dump.
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Old 09-06-2012, 12:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Braineack View Post
Take him to civil.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 18psi View Post
If you have time to waste and willing to fight for your principles, take em to court.

Otherwise cut your losses.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reverant View Post
Given you are a busy person right now, weight the value of your time vs whatever money you can get back. If option #1 is chosen, let time pass by and then send a couple of dudes with pliers and a blowtorch to say hi.
For $250 I guess its not worth my time, but for a couple thousand, that's a different story.

I guess the next step is to make some phone calls and find out if that's really the case in this situation. If it is, I guess its rightfully due.

Quote:
Originally Posted by viperormiata View Post
Send him pics of that flag you used to hang outside your house. I'm sure you'll get your money back quick, with an apology.
lol

She wont let me hang it outside the new place. I told her it's the equivalent of a ADT sticker on the window but she wasn't having it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by golftdibrad View Post
This.

I had a similar situation at an apartment in college. I was in college, so 250 or 500 or whatever it was was a chunk of change. I sent some certified letters to both the landlord and the owner stating my intent to file small claims if for nothing else the pain in the butt it would cause them, or they could give me back the deposit and I'd go away.

I got my deposit back.

Then I called code enforcement for storing a propane barbecue pit under the stairs, Man that place was a dump.
That's good to hear man. I'm not a scummy tenant, so the LAST thing I expected was a landlord to hold my security.

That place violates so many codes its insane! The owner lets his ******* friend come and dump **** in the wetlands on the property. They burn massive garbage fires weekly. The house itself isn't built correctly (everything from the crawlspace to the electrical throughout the house). The lease says "property maintenance included", yet when a tree fell on our ******* cars, I had to take care of it with a handsaw. Dirtbikes and quads everyday, anytime of day. That's not even the half of it.

Just constant noise and nothing but problems in the house. I'm so happy we moved out and found this place. I have 2 acres to myself and if anyone comes on the property, the machete is within an arms reach.
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Old 09-06-2012, 12:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viperormiata View Post
Send him pics of that flag you used to hang outside your house. I'm sure you'll get your money back quick, with an apology.
I hang an 'Merican flag.
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Old 09-06-2012, 12:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Braineack View Post
I hang an 'Merican flag.
Did you see the flag that Vash had????
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Old 09-06-2012, 12:19 PM   #11
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no.
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Old 09-06-2012, 12:28 PM   #12
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I still have it!

We have a finished basement here and I'm in the process of turning it into a weight room/game room/ebay photo & packing room. The flag will fit nicely.
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Old 09-06-2012, 12:39 PM   #13
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Vash,

Here is a resource for you on this: http://ctlawhelp.org/tenants-rights-security-deposits

This isn't a "shall", this is a "must" according to the quick research I've done. I.e., the landlord is compelled to pay you double the security deposit plus interest because he is over 30 days, minus whatever he deducts due to damage or whatever. This is assuming, of course, that when you provided the forwarding address, it was 15 days or more before that 30 days was up.

What they are trying to do with the forwarding address stuff is get you to send them one, so they can claim they have 15 days from that date.
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Old 09-06-2012, 01:27 PM   #14
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CHAPTER 831* ADVANCE RENTAL PAYMENT. SECURITY DEPOSITS

You gotta know the law.
It's spelled out pretty clear here.
You must provide a forwarding address: you did.
He has 30 days to send you the deposit back plus written statement if he's keeping any: he didn't.

Your only recourse is court. He can sit on his *** and do nothing forever. You have to act. Small claims court is EASY. You need all of his info, name, address, business info, etc...

First thing to do is send him written notice that you are requesting your security deposit back, and asking him to comply fully with Chapter 831 of the CT Civil Code. Print out and send it to him and highlight the specifics. Your phone calls and emails are not enough. It has to be a written letter.

If no response within whatever timeframe you allow him (5 days is enough), send him another letter indicating that you intend to file suit (again, give him 5 days). Of course back up your mail with email and phone-calls. DOCUMENT EVERY SINGLE ATTEMPT AT COMMS. Everyting you do from now on needs to be void of emotion, nothing but business.

He won't respond, so then go file. Small claims court is EASY. It's usually like one or two pages of info you fill out, stating what/where/why you're suing, and giving the court some money. There'll be a fee to file, and a fee to have him served... shouldn't be more than like $200 total... and you can add those costs to the amount you're suing for. If he never responds and doesn't provide the written response, you will sue for DOUBLE your security deposit plus court fees.

Once he's served, he can either settle, or go to court.

Your job is COMPLETE DOCUMENTATION OF EVERYTHING YOU HAVE. All communications, all photos, all emails, all texts, all receipts for every dime you spent, etc...

Here's how it works in the courtroom:

The judge will read your initial paperwork that you wrote when you filed. She'll want ALL OF YOUR DOCUMENTS organized in a simple manner, with highlights and things spelled out very clearly. Do not make it hard for her to judge whether you've done everything you possibly could do to resolve this out of court.

She will then ask you some questions.

She will then ask the other side for their evidence and read it. She will then ask them some questions.

She will then ask if there's any chance for settlement. YOUR ANSWER SHOULD BE SOMETHING TO THE EFFECT OF:

"Your Honor, I would have settled this a long time ago and not wasted the courts time. However, after thoroughly exhausting every means I have of communicating with Mr. Jones, he refuses to return my calls, emails, letters, and has so far been unwilling to do anything other than sit on my money and refuse to comply with the law. I just don't know what more I could have done."

She will then look at the landlord and hear his response.

THEN, unless the guy comes off as a total ***** or comes completely unprepared, SHE WILL GIVE YOU HALF OF WHAT YOU'RE ASKING FOR. You may get lucky and she gives you more, but based on the information you've given so far, she will simply split it down the middle, which means you'll get your whole deposit back since you were asking for double.

Then you get to go through the fun job of collecting.

Small claims court is quick and dirty, and the judges aren't necessarily interested in what is 100% by the book. If they think one side is just being a complete asshat for the fun of it, even if they didn't necessarily violate any law, she can still award you the money. It's a civil court, not a criminal court. When it comes down to YOUR WORD against HIS WORD, she simply wants you IN-OUT and on to the next case.

And I keep saying "SHE", because every small claims court judge I've seen was woman.

You need to send the first letter in writing requesting your deposit back TODAY... don't wait, it's your money. I might call the realtor first and ask him to verify that there is a check in the mail, and ask him in what amount, and for the reasons for any deductions. Then, assuming they're withholding something, tell him on the phone that you'll give him 5 additional day to send another check for the full amount, and that you'll be mailing a notice to that effect the instant you receive the check.

"Mr. Jones.
This letter is my official notification of forwarding address and request for immediate return of my security deposit in full, or remainder in the amount of $XXX. You have until XXSept2012 to respond."
Regards, VASH

Send it with delivery confirmation (but no signature required) so they can leave it in the mailbox without him being home. Send a copy as well to his realtor.

Of course if they give you some back but not all, your cost per ***-pain ratio goes up. For $250, it's really not worth your stress... chalk it up to a "life experience".
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Old 09-06-2012, 01:32 PM   #15
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For info, I am currently in the process of suing my former tenants for smoke damage and destruction of the yard... total $6800. We should be going to court in December... will have complete thread and lessons learned at a future date.
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Old 09-06-2012, 01:32 PM   #16
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Also note that past experiences will be noted by the court. It doesn't really help you, but if you sue and win, this guy will have less chance of screwing the next tenants.
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Old 09-06-2012, 01:36 PM   #17
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Boom. Broken down perfectly. Now its up to you to decide Vash
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Old 09-06-2012, 01:41 PM   #18
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Blaen - Thanks for the link bro!

Sam - Thanks for writeup! I'm going to wait and see how much he sends back (if he sent it out yesterday I may have it today). Once I see how brave he tries to be I'll make a decision. If he sends back the majority of it then its probably not worth my time.

I already plan on writing a letter to the reality company regarding their employee and how he handled this situation, not to mention how he represents their company. Also letting them know I'll never use or refer them again.

Plus I have a few other numbers on the side; building department, health inspector, zoning, etc.

My karma is just starting to get back above the ground, so I'm waiting to see how things pan out before I let it go. lol
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Old 09-06-2012, 01:57 PM   #19
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Vash -

Please also be aware the landlord owes you full interest on the security deposit. Period. No ifs ands ors buts.

It's not just the deposit in your state. Make sure it is included with the money they return. Interest varies from, according to records I have access to, 1.5% to 3.3% depending on a few factors.

As for Sam's post, it is mostly right on, although I have never been in a situation where they just split it like Sam says - this is completely contrary to my own small court experience, but this could very well vary from state to state and even judge to judge. YMMV there, however I am rather surprised at Sam's experiences with it.

The closest experience I can relate to what Sam is talking about is that you would be repaid the filing fee in full plus any other provable expenses related to the case, the deposit, and then half of the penalty security deposit, plus interest. But this again may vary from state to state or even judge to judge - you being owed the deposit is not in question by either side however, so I don't see why the judge would split it as part of the judgement.
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Old 09-06-2012, 02:03 PM   #20
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My blood pressure is through the ******* roof!!

The mailman just came and sure enough, the check is here.

FOR HALF THE ******* SECURITY HE OWES!!!

I don't know whether or not to call his *** right now, call the state number on Blaen's post, or calm the **** down and wait to do anything.

Son of a bitch.....
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