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Old 10-13-2014, 01:01 AM
 
4 posts, read 5,286 times
Reputation: 15

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Hello all. Forgive us if these security deposit areas have been covered previously. We reviewed many, but certainly not all, prior posts and couldn't locate any matching our issues. We're aware walk-thrus aren't required at lease termination but, if conducted, what is the landlord's obligation relative to the property manager's report generated as part of that process? At key-handover, we accompanied a property management representative on a walk-thru. Shortly afterwards, the representative drafted and presented us a report (along with several photos of the rental) that describes thr rental's condition. When we received the deposit refund several weeks later, it reflects deductions for items not included in the body of the report nor supported by any of the accompanying photos. What purpose does the report (or, for that matter, the walk-thru itself) serve if the landlord/property manager is able effectively and unilaterally add charges for "non-reported" items? What ground do we have to stand on if we were to dispute what appears to be non-supported deductions? Also, are landlords required to provide supporting billing statement and invoice copies for deposit deductions? None of our deductions are supported and, frankly, some appear to be entries created solely to generate deductions. Thanks for reading and, hopefully, clarifying for us.
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Old 10-13-2014, 04:45 PM
 
102 posts, read 113,208 times
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Similar situation happened to us when we moved out of an apartment a couple of years ago. I think its one of those things property owners do because they can get away with it. You can always talk to an attorney. Depending on the amount you're disputing it may most likely qualify for a small claims suit. Then you have to ask yourself if you want to go through that hassle. At the very least I would write and ask to see photo proof of their claims and any receipts they have showing what it cost them to repair or replace. Did you happen to take photos of the place when you moved in AND out to show proof of your claims? Chances are they've already had the place cleaned and rented to new tenants.

I know it's extremely frustrating and unfair when this happens. Hopefully you can treat it as a learning experience and get documentation on everything next time.
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Old 10-13-2014, 04:51 PM
 
Location: Las Vegas NV, Redmond WA
427 posts, read 572,864 times
Reputation: 440
When you received the refund check, I assume you called the representative and asked about those discrepancies ..... what was the explanation ?
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Old 10-13-2014, 04:56 PM
 
Location: Ohio
5,624 posts, read 6,253,960 times
Reputation: 6793
Here in OH, the LL has to include receipts and it has to make sense. It cant say " Its $2000 to replace carpet" when it was $20 to scrub some stains out of one area in front of the door after a year of you living there. (just making the numbers and time frame up)

You can dispute it following your states landlord/tenant laws. Here LL has 30d to send deposit and/or explanation and then I can file in court. I can ask for that money back and the difference. Sometimes its easy, sometimes its not to win.

Last place we lived the LL claimed the window had damage and was $70. I knew better and I could have fought it, but for $70, it wasnt that big of a deal. He did not include a receipt for that but did include it on the deduction and we had pictures to prove the windows state when we left. Again wasnt worth it. Just a small example.
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Old 10-15-2014, 11:28 PM
 
4 posts, read 5,286 times
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Kespen, Longton52 & Ohky0815 - Hello again. Arnie33 here. Tried returning sooner but had signon problems due to cookies setting on borrowed tablet. Much thanks for input. Haven't contacted property mgmt about apparent deposit-grab yet. Had hoped to line up some ammo (e.g., authoritative code or legal reference) before next interaction as mgmt seems to be ignoring or, at least, skirting common decency and rules of fair play. We have photos of move-in condition but not of move-out. Reason for that is walk-thru rep showed us his photos at conclusion of walk-thru and, except for questioning us on a single item, both photos and rep orally confirmed the condition was acceptably clean and exhibited no damage beyond normal wear & tear. That 1 item of possible deposit deduction was carpet staining (from heavy traffic and not spill) but that staining was present when we moved in and is documented in our own (and, presumably, also their) move-in photos. Told us he'd compare walk-thru with move-in photos to determine if any deduction warranted. We skip out of there and, possibly, to our detriment, out of town to relocate to another state for a job opportunity while thinking our entire or nearly entire deposit is coming home. (We suspect the distance between us and Vegas now may be playing a role in these suspect deductions appearing on our statement.) Deductions include purported carpet stain removal (which we attempted at both move-in and termination without any success) and additional items not mentioned at all in the report emailed to us. These suspect deductions total several hundreds of dollars and aren't supported by any vendor invoices. As already sadly mentioned in your comments, we may need to accept getting shafted here because follow-thru probably means returning to Vegas at some point for an amount that simply pays for the trip. With that being said, several hundred dollars is still several hundred dollars and that amount is meaningful to our finances. We plan on challenging the deductions with a copy of their glowing walk-thru report, our own move-in photos and a demand for invoice copies. Wish us luck but we suspect our challenge will just be posted on the lunchroom bulletin board to serve as amusing breaktime reading. If we meet with any success, we'll update here. By the way, NV also has a 30-day deposit return requirement and, not surprisingly, mgmt took 28 or 29 of those days to return our artificially-deflated deposit. While NV landlord-tenant code doesn't require termination walk-thrus, it also doesn't address role/limitations of walk-thru reports should it be provided. Code also appears to be silent about requiring supporting documentation. So far, the only take-away from this experience seems to be leave a local forwarding address if at all possible to decrease odds of ridiculous deductions. Thanks for reading.
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Old 10-15-2014, 11:48 PM
 
Location: Ohio
5,624 posts, read 6,253,960 times
Reputation: 6793
I cant read that long wall of text but here is what i gathered:

1) You made a mistake not taking move out photos
2) That Rep WONT be there at court, the Landlord/lawyer/owner will

I could be wrong but I believe its required to mail the check/deduction, i dont think they can just email it and say " we sent it!", certified for example is solid proof they sent it and you got it. I COULD be wrong on the email part though.

No, pictures/move out notation isnt "required" but its a VERY smart thing to do because at this point its he said/she said and YOU have no proof. You cant walk in court with move in pictures and say " Look the carpet had this stain on move in but not on move out" because the landlord can say " oh they ripped up the entire carpet" and without proof, who do think the judge will believe?
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Old 10-16-2014, 07:48 AM
 
4 posts, read 5,286 times
Reputation: 15
We may not have taken our own photos but we have his walk-thru report & photos. If we were to go to court, we would compare our move-in photos to mgmt's termination photos. Refund check was received in mail. It was walk-thru report & photos that came via email. Bottom line appears to be no volume of documentation would've been sufficient to prevent this sort of security deposit shake-down because the available documentation overwhelmingly supports our position for zero deduction.
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Old 10-16-2014, 10:32 AM
 
Location: Las Vegas NV, Redmond WA
427 posts, read 572,864 times
Reputation: 440
Why haven't you called the rep to get an explanation? or his boss?

Without hearing their explanation you don't have the full story. Keep it simple and start at the lowest level .... call the rep.
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Old 10-17-2014, 03:09 AM
 
4 posts, read 5,286 times
Reputation: 15
We don't have a direct # for the rep. He wasn't our contact person during the tenancy and we met for 1st time at walk-thru. We, however, do have an email addr from the walk-thru rpt msg and made an attempt to contact him at that addr prior to receiving the refund. About 2 weeks after the walk-thru (& week and a half before we rec'd refund),we inquired into the outcome of his investigation into the stain and the overall status of our deposit refund but received no response. That hint of non-cooperativeness, along with the apparent unsubstantiated deductions, made it clear to us that some level of research & prep would be best before we attempt to question/reverse the deductions. That's where we stand now. Thanks for your time & input.
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Old 10-17-2014, 06:04 PM
 
Location: Portland, OR
635 posts, read 694,057 times
Reputation: 454
Before taking anyone's advice on this board please research the Landlord/Tenant Law of the State you are in.

I will say that I have dealt a few times with landlords or rental companies that attempt to hold deposits for less than reasonable reasons. It is not easy at all. Most landlords and rental companies have been dealing with tenants a lot longer than you have been dealing with them. But I will say write down everything, every time you talk to them. Notate the date/time, if its a phone call or in person and what was said. Also when you moved in it appeared you did the right thing by taking photos but you didn't on move out. Never rely on the landlord to take photos, you need your own copy of everything. And it is too bad your forgot to take photos when leaving. If they are only attempting to charge you for normal wear and tear due to a high traffic area in the carpet you should be able to fight that. Its carpet and people walk on it...its normal, you didn't purposely cause damage to the carpet. If they attempt to hold a good amount of money I would consider small claims court.

In the future I will tell you what I do now; On the walk-through with the leasing agent or landlord take a ton of photos. Notate EVERYTHING that is wrong, damaged or looks worn. Make sure the leasing agent or landlord has an official sheet to notate on, get them to sign in and get a copy. When you decide to move out. Take photos again of EVERYTHING. If there was damage prior to you moving in and you have the photos and sheet saying there was damage notate on the pictures. If the landlord comes back and says there was damage show them both sets of pictures and the sheet notating the damage. Be prepared, the more evidence the better. I have had great landlords but when it comes to move out they want to hold your money...so again be prepared.
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