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Old 02-21-2013, 10:14 PM
 
826 posts, read 1,765,659 times
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Is it really Landlord Friendly?

I am considering whether to settle or fight a former landlord at this court. They are charging me for damages I did not cause, plus little things like hardwater stains. This landlord has a reputation for screwing people out of their security deposit and then some. Plus they are very vicious. I have pictures and video of the apartment before I left and I am prepared to show the judge. But my attorney has told me that the judges in Indiana are very Landlord friendly and will take the side of the Landlord.

The reason I am balking at the settlement is because, the lawyer is adding his own fees and court costs.
So say they were charging me 300 for damages, the attorneys fees/court costs are like 800. Meaning I have to pay like 1100

I don't want to get a court judgement because it can ruin your credit. Is there a way to get a court decision without it affecting your credit?
What should I do? Settle or Fight it.

Is there anyone from Indiana that has won a small claims issue against a landlord?
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:54 PM
 
155 posts, read 520,757 times
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I have never lost a case, against a tenant.
Does your lease include Attorney fees, and court cost.
Did he give you an accounting within 45 days? Indiana law..

Your picture will need to be 5x7 or 8x10, no video. 3 sets of pictures.

Judges give the tenants an ear,, and many breaks, many LL win because you do not show.

Make the LL show all receips, and copies of his picture, bring a extra witness.

Hard water stains come out, no big deal.
Small Claims, do your own case, just go a few days before, and check out the court..

Make an outline follow it and 3 sets of exibits, dress nice and don't talk too much, show respect for the court...

Judges do not like all LL's, and they hate time waisters...so prep your case...

Seen many tenants win.
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Old 02-22-2013, 04:37 AM
 
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
24,671 posts, read 64,700,490 times
Reputation: 26614
Forget the attorney - in many states you can't even be represented by an atorney in small claims court. Spend a day sitting in on small claims court cases to get a feel for what goes on, make sure you have all your documentation (lease, pre-move (if you have them) and post-move photos, etc. cleanly and clearly organized. It's really not a complicated process at all. Good luck!
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Old 02-22-2013, 08:58 AM
 
26,949 posts, read 43,058,226 times
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You don't need a lawyer in small claims court...do as previous poster and watch some of the shows on tv, although it is different than on tv but at least you will get the feeling what you need to provide.

On tv they allow written statements that are notarized but in small claims court in our County the judges don't allow it.

You can't tell what someone else is saying or what you heard but you have to bring that person and that is half the win.

You don't get bad credit from losing in small claims court unless you don't pay the judgment if it is against you.

This is not an eviction that will be put in the public records and for everyone to see.

Make sure you have pictures and preferable also from move in day but otherwise that is for the LL to proof.

I hope you have the pictures date/time stamped since that is very helpful otherwise how can you proof if it was from move in or move out?
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Old 09-20-2013, 08:01 AM
 
3 posts, read 10,414 times
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Default Can you post the result of what happened in claims court

Did you go to small claims court? Can you post your experience? I am in indiana too and am given $944 move out charges, landlord wants to keep 200 security deposit and is asking me to pay 744 for damages that i did not do.

We received the move out charges letter 47 days after we moved out. I feel we should go to small claims court but do the courts tend to be favor of landlords, How much did you end up paying paying for attorney fees, claim cost etc? Did you find it worth the time and effort?
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Old 09-20-2013, 09:33 AM
 
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
24,671 posts, read 64,700,490 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cooltoad12 View Post
Did you go to small claims court? Can you post your experience? I am in indiana too and am given $944 move out charges, landlord wants to keep 200 security deposit and is asking me to pay 744 for damages that i did not do.

We received the move out charges letter 47 days after we moved out. I feel we should go to small claims court but do the courts tend to be favor of landlords, How much did you end up paying paying for attorney fees, claim cost etc? Did you find it worth the time and effort?
If you go to Indiana state landlord tenant laws linked in the first "sticky" on this forum, you'll see that LLs are required to return the security deposit less itemized deductions within 45 days of repossession of the rental. If you did indeed not receive this until 47 days had elapsed, your LL is required to return to you your whole security deposit.

You should send him a letter via return receipt certified mail advising him accordingly (once you've carefully checked the statutes) and tell him that if you don't receive your full security deposit in seven days from date of this letter, you will have no alternative but to file a claim in Small Claims Court.

In most jurisdictions, plaintiffs in SC court aren't allowed attorney representation and the procedure to file is very simple. If your LL failed to comply with the legal requirements, your case will be easily won and your filing cost will also be reimbursed. Good luck!
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Old 09-20-2013, 12:01 PM
 
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Thank You STT for your reply, i checked the indiana tenant law and it says 45 days but i wish they do not say 45 is the number of business / working days. Apartment sent me the moveout charges through mail. the date they wrote on the letter which has move out charges is september 9th 2013 (which is within 45 days) but usps stamp on mail i received is september 16th (which is after 45 days) . they either delayed mailing it or they deliberately wrote a wrong date being aware of 45 day rule. It is a local mail within the same town. My questions are: a) is 45 the number of working days 2)is it the date i receive the charges that counts? c) the lease says if they hire a attorney in case of court case, tenant has to pay for it, and it worries me thinking what if i end up paying their attorney fees too.
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Old 09-20-2013, 12:57 PM
 
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
24,671 posts, read 64,700,490 times
Reputation: 26614
I'm not a lawyer but it's always been my understanding that where leases are concerned and as long as there's nothing specified to the contrary in state law, the time frame is actual days not "working days". The date on the letter itself means not much at all, the date of the actual mailing is key. Hang on to that envelope!
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Old 09-20-2013, 02:17 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
18,817 posts, read 27,962,206 times
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Hi CoolToad (love the name, btw!)

I looked up the actual Indiana code, and it just says 45 days. Not business days. So, you are good to go there. It also says that if the LL doesn't meet the 45 days, you get your full deposit back, plus court fees. I'll cut and paste that section below, but here's the link to the entire code:

Indiana Code 32-31-3


IC 32-31-3-12
Return of deposits; deductions; liability
Sec. 12. (a) Upon termination of a rental agreement, a landlord shall return to the tenant the security deposit minus any amount applied to:
(1) the payment of accrued rent;
(2) the amount of damages that the landlord has suffered or will reasonably suffer by reason of the tenant's noncompliance with law or the rental agreement; and
(3) unpaid utility or sewer charges that the tenant is obligated to pay under the rental agreement;
all as itemized by the landlord with the amount due in a written notice that is delivered to the tenant not more than forty-five (45) days after termination of the rental agreement and delivery of possession. The landlord is not liable under this chapter until the tenant supplies the landlord in writing with a mailing address to which to deliver the notice and amount prescribed by this subsection. Unless otherwise agreed, a tenant is not entitled to apply a security deposit to rent.
(b) If a landlord fails to comply with subsection (a), a tenant may recover all of the security deposit due the tenant and reasonable attorney's fees.
(c) This section does not preclude the landlord or tenant from recovering other damages to which either is entitled.
(d) The owner of the dwelling unit at the time of the termination of the rental agreement is bound by this section.
As added by P.L.2-2002, SEC.16.
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Old 03-01-2014, 08:27 AM
 
1 posts, read 3,723 times
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I've lived in Indy for 2 horribly long years. My experience with the Smalls Claim Court... SHE SIDES WITH THE LANDLORD! My first house had been condemned for mold and LL didn't tell me. A neighbor told me a month after I moved in and showed me where the mold had been, it was back. Explained why I kept getting sick. I called the Health Dept who gave LL a citation. She kicked me out as it was a month to month lease. She took me to court TWO weeks BEFORE I was even to be out and didn't give me my deposit back. Judge ruled that she owed me my deposit and a year later I found out that she listed "evicted" on the case. No paperwork I received said evicted. It did say "judgment is rendered in favor of plaintiff (LL) and handwritten it said (P sought only court cost). It also was handwritten that Plaintiff return security deposit in 10 days. I didnt know that meant eviction because I had already found a new place to live. Judge ask her why she took me to court before I was even supposed to moved and she said that'd she'd have to wait 30 more days IF I didn't go as planned. How is that legal?

The new place I moved to... the LL was going through my things while I was away on trips (I'm a flight attendant). I put a cheap alarm in and caught him. And he admitted on voicemail that he didn't have an appt. I took them to small claims court and every piece of evidence I gave the judge, she gave to them. I didn't know to make a copy for them, so the 3 copies is definitely right. Three months later... she ruled in favor of them even through I proved they had been going in. She awarded them money that no attorney I've had free consultation with since can see why. I represented myself but they had no documents to prove I owed them $2500. I left the house in PERFECT condition with pics that had dates on them. She gave all of that to them so she didn't see it THREE months later when she finally ruled.

I appealed and their attorney is giving me the run around and stalling because they know they won't win. NOW I'm forced to get an attorney to finish this. Its not in my budget but I'll sell my car just to get justice if I have to.

This is a game and I'm learning the rules as I go. DON'T BE NIAVE and think that the right thing will be done like me. Study, prepare and fight!

Good Luck!
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