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Old 12-02-2013, 11:32 PM
2 posts, read 2,493 times
Reputation: 10


I will try to make this short:

I moved into an apartment with 2 others over a year ago. The rent I was to pay was $1,000/month. Months after I move in, my roommate (one with name on main lease) tells me that utilities are not included and I have to start paying more. He says this one night while very drunk. I was never informed about paying extra for utilities prior to move in - thought it was all included. I tell him, ok, come talk to me about it when you're sober. Fast forward another 6 months (now I've been in the apartment for 10 months, and he never came to talk to me about it), he tells me again 6 months later I have to start paying utilities. Keep in mind, the other roommate also hasn't been asked to pay either... also unaware they were not included. So when he talked to me about it, I told him to figure out how much I need to pay. He said ok, I will and will get back to you. That was 4 months ago, and I have not heard back with an estimate.

NOW I am moving out. I am predicting he may come at me with a large amount that he feels I owe for the past year or so. I actually did pay over $250 over the year when he forgot to pay and electricity/Internet went out. The other roommate has also never paid monthly utilities.

SO MY QUESTION IS: He has a security deposit of mine, and I am afraid he will try to keep a lot of it for what he feels he is owed. Can he do that? Must the security deposit be returned if I have not caused any damages, and then the utilities dispute be handled separately?

Thanks for your help!

**I don't know if this matters, but he has never cleaned the house at all, ever, since I moved in. I pay for a maid, or clean myself after him - and he is very, very messy. I have also had many repairs taken care of in the house which I either paid for or the landlord has taken care of. When sinks and bathtubs clog, he doesn't care. I have a very long list with huge ways I've contributed to the initially disgusting apartment I moved into.
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Old 12-03-2013, 02:31 AM
1,092 posts, read 3,200,755 times
Reputation: 1128
No contract?

How did you find it in the first place? If by ad, did you retain a copy?
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Old 12-03-2013, 03:44 AM
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
24,671 posts, read 64,842,387 times
Reputation: 26617
Unless you had a written agreement to pay for utilities and there's proof that you defaulted there's no way he can turn around and keep your security deposit. Read your state landlord tenant laws (probably listed in the first "sticky" on this page) and see the procedure for the return of your security deposit. All deductions have to be itemized and documented. Presumably you have your own room so make sure that before you leave you clean it thoroughly and take dated photographs showing its condition.
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Old 12-03-2013, 08:57 AM
Location: Silicon Valley
18,817 posts, read 28,092,849 times
Reputation: 38231
I see you're in SF. Here's some CA info on deposits:

California Tenants - California Department of Consumer Affairs

If I were you, I'd first wait to see if he sends you a refund and/or an itemization of deductions within 21 days after you turn over your key and vacate. He probably won't. If he doesn't, he loses all rights to your deposit. Then, you send a demand letter, then if he doesn't pay, you sue in small claims court.

Also, read the section on the above link regarding pre-move-out inspections. If he doesn't do this, he also loses his right to the deposit.

If he offers you the pre-move-out inspection and also sends you an itemization in time deducting utilities that you dispute, then do the same as above, and let a judge decide what's fair.

Good luck :-)
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Old 12-03-2013, 09:24 AM
26,957 posts, read 43,145,782 times
Reputation: 15258
The Op shouldn't get any deduction for unpaid utilities...you can't change it without demanding it in a proper way and having proof of that. The proof is for the other guy and the OP just has to go to court...easy case....too bad if you have to go to court to get your money back.
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