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Old 08-09-2017, 06:54 PM
 
1 posts, read 513 times
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I have a couple of questions about a rental I just left.

I left a couple of trash cans in the garage, lost 1 key, and didn't shampoo the carpet.

A couple of things she says I failed to do were water the trees so she had to cut 2 down. She also had to pick up dog crap.

The rental was given to me filthy which I didn't complain, wood all over the yard and trash, nails still in walls, food on cabinets, pubic hairs in carpet and showers.

All of the above cost her "well over the $1450.00 security deposit I gave her.

If any one can tell me do I have a case to fight back on this please help out.
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Old 08-09-2017, 06:57 PM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
7,307 posts, read 4,478,964 times
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California landlord/tenant law is clear: The landlord has to offer a walkthrough several weeks before your move-out date and note deficiencies so they can be corrected.

Was a walkthrough offered you?
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Old 08-09-2017, 08:21 PM
 
1,069 posts, read 721,472 times
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This is why you can't leave sex dolls and catnip all over the place, OP.
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Old 08-09-2017, 09:43 PM
 
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This is an excellent resource from the State of California on Landlord-Tenant law that has an extensive section on moving out, and what both the landlord's and tenant's rights and responsibilities are when it comes to security deposits being returned. It will answer most of your questions:

California Landlord Tenant Rights and Responsibilities

At the back of the handbook, there is a list of agencies where you can get advice on landlord-tenant disagreements.

Also, should you feel the landlord was in the wrong for not returning your full deposit, you can always file a claim in Small Claims Court. Here is another page from the Department of Consumer Affairs which explains the basics of how to do that, should you decide to:

The Small Claims Court, A Guide to Its Practical Use - California Department of Consumer Affairs

If you do decide to file in Small Claims Court, you'll do it in the Small Claims Court of the County where the apartment is located.

Each County's Small Claims Court has an Advising Office that you can call to talk to about the specifics. You can find the Small Claims Court website for your county by googling the County Name and Small Claims Court.

But, hopefully, you will try to resolve the issue with your ex-landlord in other ways first.

Good luck!

Last edited by RosieSD; 08-09-2017 at 09:53 PM..
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Old 08-09-2017, 10:19 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
17,935 posts, read 22,609,476 times
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Agree with all of the above. I'm going to assume the landlord didn't do the proper notice of your rights to a pre-move-out inspection (called an initial inspection) nor did he/she give you a list of what you needed to do (within the law) to get your full deposit back, nor provide you with receipts to prove their actual out of pocket costs for what they deducted.

I used to be an apartment manager in CA, and the easiest thing for you to do, in my opinion, is:

Send a letter or email to your landlord, saying you want your deposit back, as he/she can't keep it because they didn't follow the law properly. You don't have to say more than that. If you think they might do it, give them a deadline. But, if not, I'd go straight to:

File a claim with the proper small claims court in your area. In it, put down your full deposit amount "and any punitive damages allowed."

The reason for the letter first, is that small claims court wants you to show that you asked for your money back, before you sued.

When you go to court, print this out to give to the judge (best not to assume the judge knows all the laws - sometimes they are actually full-time lawyers who practice different law):

California Tenants - California Department of Consumer Affairs

Tell the judge the landlord didn't give you proper notice of your rights to an initial inspection per the law, nor give you receipts to prove damages, as required by law. And since the landlord didn't follow the law, you should get your full deposit back and any punitive damages allowed.

Hand the clerk copies of the above web page, your lease, proof of payment of your security deposit.

The judge normally won't give you a decision on that day, but will mail the decision to you. You will probably win. Normally, landlords pay up. If not, ask the court clerk how to have the landlord's rent income seized by the sheriff ;-)

Good luck.
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Old 08-10-2017, 09:19 AM
 
7,254 posts, read 4,342,525 times
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Great suggestions from No More Snow. If you want to step things up a bit, you could also consider paying for an hour of an attorney's time and ask them to write a formal letter for you on their letterhead asking for a full refund or face a small claims suit. Sometimes - but not always - that makes people a little more amendable to finding a compromise.
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Old 08-10-2017, 08:42 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
17,935 posts, read 22,609,476 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RosieSD View Post
Great suggestions from No More Snow. If you want to step things up a bit, you could also consider paying for an hour of an attorney's time and ask them to write a formal letter for you on their letterhead asking for a full refund or face a small claims suit. Sometimes - but not always - that makes people a little more amendable to finding a compromise.
This is true, but normally tenants can't afford to pay a lawyer - and then also pay the fees to sue in small claims court. The small claims court fees would be reimbursed by the landlord if the tenant wins, but the lawyer fees prior to getting to court would not, unfortunately.

Which reminds me, the OP should also write into the amount requested "and court costs."

Court fees for small claims court are only around $50, as I recall. Less than $100 for sure. And if you win, the landlord (losing party) has to reimburse you those fees along with whatever you win.

So, my advice is always to just "gamble" with the $100 (max) fee to sue, as it's a better "bet." Worst case scenario, you're out the $100 (max) and you don't get any of your security deposit back - which you are already out.

Also, the judge will send the parties out into the hall to try to work something out before he/she will hear your case.

Either way could work. I just think the small claims court filing is cheaper, and you could get it back - and getting served with a summons to small claims court will also usually get the other side to start trying to negotiate.
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Old 08-10-2017, 10:40 PM
 
26,577 posts, read 51,939,398 times
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Others have cited the mechanics of Deposit Law applicable to California Residential rentals.

It is really very easy to prevail in court if the Landlord failed to follow the statute requirements.

That said... I am continually amazed why anyone would accept a less than acceptable rental without at least noting deficiencies at the time.

Filthy is hard to hide so it must have been pretty extreme and evident.

I have always offered a walk through because it simply made sense to outline expectations...

Garbage and personal property left behind is a pet peeve of mine... landscaping would depend on what was agreed to under the rental agreement.

Even picking up Dog Crap is a basic courtesy and not unreasonable.
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Old 08-10-2017, 11:44 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
17,935 posts, read 22,609,476 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultrarunner View Post
Others have cited the mechanics of Deposit Law applicable to California Residential rentals.

It is really very easy to prevail in court if the Landlord failed to follow the statute requirements.

That said... I am continually amazed why anyone would accept a less than acceptable rental without at least noting deficiencies at the time.

Filthy is hard to hide so it must have been pretty extreme and evident.

I have always offered a walk through because it simply made sense to outline expectations...

Garbage and personal property left behind is a pet peeve of mine... landscaping would depend on what was agreed to under the rental agreement.

Even picking up Dog Crap is a basic courtesy and not unreasonable.
Well, you're right, we don't have all of the details. The way I read the OP, was that they had only left a couple garbage cans in the garage, but otherwise left the place cleaner than it had been when they moved in. Perhaps I was reading it wrong.

As a renter now, though, I do know how a tenant ends up with a dirty place - the landlord promises everything will be great when you move in. You've given notice, your stuff is in a truck on the sidewalk, you get your keys, open the door and - hello, filthy place full of crap.

And tenants don't know they should take photos of the crap before they start moving their stuff in. And at that point, they are in a world of hurt - all of their deposit money and the rent has probably already been cashed. And they are then looking at - can I just break the lease, etc., and demand my money back? And move where, while suing the landlord? Or if the cost of losing the deposit is worth buying a good reference from this landlord, by not complaining about it.

Where I just moved, the awning over my bedroom window is hanging by shreds. I was told it was going to be replaced, when I first viewed the apartment in March. I moved into the apartment middle of May - the awning is still flapping in the breeze as I type this, in shreds that cover the window.

They then - after I moved in - replaced the flooring in the kitchen and bathroom. I had to leave all day, every day for a week, while they ripped up the floor because of rotten lumber. In the middle of the heat wave we had, taking my dog with me in the truck all day to go find shade while we just stayed away all day. And the crew left my place covered in dust. There was dust in every cupboard, inside drawers, on my clothing in the closet.

They didn't want to lose rent waiting for the construction crew to come, so had me move in and ...oh yeah, we'll be replacing the floor because of the soft spot....we'll be letting you know when they will come do it...

And, they used my electricity for their power tools, rinsed glue down the drain, so the sink backed up....

And the rent here is $1800, so it's not the ghetto.

At any rate, even though I know you are a saint landlord, unfortunately, many many are not. What often happens is they charge the last tenant for cleaning they never did, then let the next tenant move into it as-is, then charge that tenant for cleaning they never did, ad infinitum. They never intend to return deposits. And most get away with it, because most tenants don't know how to sue, are afraid of courts, can't take time off work, don't have the money for the court fees, need the landlord reference, etc.

It just makes me mad. I know there are bad tenants that do things that are annoying, too. But, there are bad landlords, as well.

In fact, the management where I live just last week put a notice on every tenant's door with scary legal language that said - addressed individually to each tenant - that we had 30 days to sign a new move-out cleaning amendment or be evicted.

First of all, because of the kind of funding they get here for subsidized senior apartments, they can't evict anyone without "good cause." So, they couldn't evict anyone here for not signing a new amendment to their lease about move-out cleaning. Second, the new amendment they wanted people to agree to, included a depreciation schedule for damage to flooring, saying basically that the tenant agrees to paying the equivalent of the depreciation amount to the flooring, as damages when they move out, and also basically agreeing that all of the flooring was brand new when they moved in, which is not likely the case. And that all flooring has a life of 7 years, even if it's actually cheap crap.

This isn't legal - for many reasons I'll spare everyone from going into. But, what it would seemingly allow them to do (until a savvy tenant sued them over it and won), was charge each tenant for damage to carpets that they never replaced or spent money fixing. In other words, they profit on that carpet over and over and over, even when they haven't actually lost a dime out of pocket.

I respectfully wrote the manager a nice email saying I didn't have to sign any amendments to a year- lease I just signed, that they couldn't evict me for not doing so, and that the legal department might want to read the rules regarding good cause eviction, and the California codes they referenced, which actually say they can't do what they're trying to do, legally.

Big property management corporation that presents itself as providing caring homes for low-income seniors, as if they aren't making a profit. Rip off artists. There was a line outside the manager's door of petrified old people holding that dang document in their hands. It was all I could do to not become the building advocate - learned my lesson there. I just took care of myself respectfully, and laid low otherwise. But, they bullied a bunch of seniors who didn't know better, into signing away their rights. Just chaps my behind.

And the manager, although I do feel sorry for her as she's between a rock and a hard place, had been obviously informed by their legal department to just take a reassuring stance that all they have to do is just sign this new form in the next 30 days and all will be well.....

So, yes, I do believe it's quite possible the OP did move into a filthy place, expecting a clean one, left it cleaner than it was, and is now being ripped off by a landlord who is holding a good landlord reference to ransom.

If only all landlords were like you, UltraRunner.

Last edited by NoMoreSnowForMe; 08-11-2017 at 12:17 AM..
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Old 08-11-2017, 08:35 AM
 
26,577 posts, read 51,939,398 times
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Hopefully the OP will post a followup.

I'm very much old school in many respects... don't even own a personal cell... had one years ago but coverage where I live is still problematic.

That said... I imagine just about everyone has access to a camera to snap a few pictures at move-in and move out.

A move in/move out Inventory and Condition sheet is my cornerstone very much appreciated by some and a bother for others which really never understood since it really is protection for both tenant and owner.

I could see how easy it would be for you to organize your building and management would not know what hit them!

I'm always being asked Real Estate questions by co-workers and never once was a security not returned and mostly it simply was a matter of providing a copy of the applicable California Statute.
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