This, unfortunately, sounds like a he-said-she-said situation. It's impossible to ever read anyone's mind. Forget it. Don't try to "figure out" what anyone who makes themselves an adversary is thinking, or why on earth a person would do anything. Ignore such possibilities, which you will never know and will just confuse your mind. Just clear your mind, and think clearly about what you DO know.
You have a few really important facts on your side: the passage of time (why wasn't this charge requested of you long ago?), and the landlord's apparent total lack of documentation, as well as one "documentation" for which she will provide you with no bill/receipt (carpet cleaning company).
If I were in your shoes, I'd gather together any paperwork I have left from those transactions, including cancelled checks such as your check for the security deposit, or your bank's records of your payments to her, whether that record is from online or you go to a bank officer (person at a desk, not a teller) and request paper records.
DO NOT conduct any communication whatsoever with that landlord, or anyone connected to her, by phone, in person, by email, or via a third person. DO conduct all communication in print, sent to her by Certified Return Receipt or Fed Ex Signature Required, so that you can prove forever what you communicated and when, and that those communications were received by her or a member of her household. KEEP COPIES OF EVERYTHING.
I would contact that former landlord in writing, sent by Certified Mail Return Receipt (so that the receiver has to sign) or Fed Ex Signature Required. Keep all those receipts. In my printed letter I would outline in a 1. 2. 3. manner that's clear for anyone to understand, what you did and what you did not receive from her, and what you are requesting from her. Include photocopies of any of HER documents (such as the bill) for which you are requesting documentation from her. You must include in the letter a deadline, for example you require that you receive the items you request no later than 10 days from the date she receives your letter. Or 14 days, whatever you choose. Give her a reasonable, but not long, amount of time to respond. Do not use any emotional language ("ludicrous" and "arbitrarily" are good examples of emotional language). Request a new move-out statement be sent to you at your current address (businesses that are rationally managed keep copies for years and years).
If you receive from her incomplete, accusatory or other irrational response to your calm, rational request, DO NOT respond in kind. DO NOT ask questions about why did you say this, why did you do that. Ignore the response, except for any actual, documented information it might contain. Repeat your calm, rational request. Do not get sidetracked if someone else wants to distract you and drag you into their irrationalities and avoidances. Second deadline is the final deadline; you may tell her that, and that if she does not provide the requisite documentation you will take her to court.
Most people are afraid of court, and will fix problems rather than have to appear in court. Others deny that such a "bad" thing could happen to them, and just slide into suddenly receiving the summons to appear.
In the meantime, I'd try to get the support of your current landlord as to your dependability, paying on time, paying in full each month, keeping your apartment in good condition, etc. to be used later -- either in a notarized letter from him that you will take to court as evidence, or his agreement (that you really believe) that he will go with you to court to vouch for you.
If you do not receive from her the paperwork necessary to clean up your credit report, I'd file a suit in small-claims court. You don't need a lawyer and it won't cost you more than carfare and a very low filing fee. You WILL have to appear in court on the date your case will be heard, but such cases usually don't take more than 10 or 15 minutes to be heard and adjudicated. If the defendent (her) does not show up, the case will take 2 minutes and will automatically be decided in your favor (do not tell that information to her ahead of time). Wear professional business attire to court. Take to court with you either your current landlord who will explain what an excellent tenant you are, or a notarized letter to that effect in detail from your current landlord. Write the letter for him to make it easy for him to do this; keep it simple, to the point, and truthful.
If the judge finds in your favor, you will receive paperwork from the court which you can then PHOTOCOPY and send to each of the credit reporting agencies, requesting in writing that the xyz record be corrected or expunged. You can also, as part of your suit, request compensation from that landlord, perhaps the security deposit; be certain your compensation request is rational and moderate. KEEP ALL THE PAPERWORK from this entire event for at least 10 years in an envelope all its own so it doesn't get mixed up with anything else.
I wish you well!!
Last edited by allforcats; 03-19-2008 at 03:29 PM..