U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Real Estate > Renting
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
 
 
Old 03-26-2015, 05:34 PM
 
4 posts, read 10,587 times
Reputation: 10

Advertisements

Hello Everyone,

This took place in California.

My husband and I want to sue our old landlord because of the excessive security deposit deductions he has made. He returned $278.34 out of our $1490 security deposit by charging us for many house repair jobs after we moved out. The landlord did not inform us any repair works needed or provide us a list of work need to be done before we return the condo back otherwise he will deduct from our deposit. He did send us the list of deduction and the receipts for all the repair he did to the condo after we moved out within the 21 days period. We only stayed there for 1 year, before we moved in, he did the paint work for the whole condo, after we moved out, on the deduction list, he stated that he did the paint job for the condo again. After receiving his email of the deduction, we tried to email him back and forth regarding the refund which we clearly told him that we think that he done a unreasonable deduction from our deposit and we do not agree on the refund amount he provided us. We tried to be nice and tried to work with him for the amount that we can take, however, without any notification, he mailed the refund check with the original amount he wanted ($278.34) to our new address. Because we never agreed on the amount, so we returned the check along with the request of refund letter him by certified mail. Because we want to resolve the problem, on the Letter, we provided a reasonable amount that we can take. However he did not want to take. Lastly, we sent the last request of refund through email, and notified him at the same time if he did not send us the refund check within a period of time, we will take legal action. 3 months past, we still not get his refund check yet

Now my question is can we sue him for not giving us back the security Deposit

Thank you for your help!

Last edited by coverlady; 03-26-2015 at 05:43 PM..
Rate this post positively Quick reply to this message

 
Old 03-26-2015, 05:46 PM
 
Location: Riverside Ca
22,155 posts, read 29,760,554 times
Reputation: 35353
Quote:
Originally Posted by coverlady View Post
Hello Everyone,

This took place in California.

My husband and I want to sue our old landlord because of the excessive security deposit deductions he has made. He returned $278.34 out of our $1490 security deposit by charging us for many house repair jobs after we moved out. The landlord did not inform us any repair works needed or inform me that he will deduct our deposit for the repair work before we moved out of the condo.

He doesn't have to.

He did send us the list of deduction and the receipts for all the repair he did to the condo after we moved out. We only stayed there for 1 year, before we moved in, he did the paint work for the whole condo, after we moved out, on the deduction list, he stated that he did the paint job for the condo again.

He can't charge to repaint unless you damaged the walls. If you did damage walls Then he can charge for repairs. What were the other charges

After receiving his email of the deduction, we tried to email him back and forth regarding the refund which we clearly told him that we think that he done a unreasonable deduction from our deposit and we do not agree on the refund amount he provided us. We tried to be nice and tried to work with him for the amount that we can take, however, without any notification, he mailed the refund check with the original amount he wanted ($278.34) to our new address.

Obviously a matter of opinion on who owes who what. Next time send letter of demand. And court if that doesn't work.


Because we never agreed on the amount, so we returned the check along with the request of refund letter with the refund amount that we think is reasonable to him by certified mail. Lastly, we sent the last request of refund through email, and notified him at the same time if he did not send us the refund check within a period of time, we will take legal action. 3 months past, we still not get his refund check yet

So why did you wait 3 months? You're simply blustering and threatening. Not exactly shaking in his boots

Now my question is can we sue him for not giving us back the security Deposit

Sure. You can sue if you feel that the charges were excessive. You must send a demand letter asking for x amount you feel is right to make you whole. He may or may not respond. Probably won't respond. After x date you file and serve the LL court papers. If you want a service to do it all for you it runs about $350 bucks. They do the info gathering, file and serve papers.

Thank you for your help!
Good luck
Rate this post positively Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-26-2015, 06:15 PM
 
4 posts, read 10,587 times
Reputation: 10
Thank you for your reply,

Here is the list of charge,


1. General House Cleaning ($140) We actually scheduled a cleaning crew to do the cleaning on the moving out date. When my husband called the landlord to inform him on the matter, he told my husband that he will need to do a cleaning no matter what, even after we did the cleaning on our side.
He told my husband no need to spend money to do cleaning. he told my husband that he will take care of the cleaning, whatever the cost we can arrange and split the amount. At the end, he did not honor his word, he put the full charge on us!


2. Carpet Cleaning ($180) From my understanding that tenant do not have to do a professional carpet cleaning before return the key to landlord, the professional house cleaning service is included a vacuum cleaning. I think the usage of the carpet counted as wear and tear, but he charged us $180. Also he only provided us $70 when we moved into the condo upon our request, because he did not perform a carpet cleaning after the previous tenant left. The condo is not very big and for the amount of the charge is very unreasonable.

3. Painting ($300) There were nail holes on the wall due to the installation of TV and Internet Cable Router, but is that counts for normal wear and tear?

4. Replaced 2 window blinds (Living Room & Kitchen) ($150) Kitchen blinds was already broken when we moved in, We thought it was minor issued, so we never bother to ask him to change for us. However he took this as advantage to charge us for his new tenant. The Living room blind was caused by window break accident. We notified the landlord immediately when the accident occurred. We paid half of the window replacement, he never mentioned anything about the blind during the replacement of window.

5. Installed new lock (lower lock on door to garage, lock broken) ($40) The Lock was already broken when we moved in, we installed our own lock during the time of our stay.

6. Repaired hinge to small bathroom cabinet doors. ($10) We honored the Charge

7. Replaced missing electrical socket panel in kitchen. ($5) We did not recall any missing panel.

8. Repaired Master Bedroom sink drain cap and unclogged sink ($15) Before we moved out the house, the both sink drain caps were there. For the unclogged work, we believed this will counted as normal wear and tear.

9. Unclogged bath tub drain ($15) Is this also counted for normal wear and tear!!

10. Missing Guest Park Placard ($20) We will honored the cost.

11. 10 days rent deductions ($496.66)


Also, on top of that, the landlord has to reimbursement us the repair cost for the garage door of $110.00, he never did.


Please let me know if all the charges are reasonable or not!

Thank you,

Last edited by coverlady; 03-26-2015 at 06:35 PM..
Rate this post positively Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-26-2015, 06:57 PM
 
Location: Boise, ID
8,047 posts, read 27,265,652 times
Reputation: 9443
1. This could have been the split amount. It is not uncommon to have $250-300 worth of cleaning done on a house when a tenant moves out. Did you clean every blind? Under the stove and fridge, wipe all the baseboards, clean the tracks for the windows, dust the light fixtures, plant shelves and fan, etc? Most tenants do not. Sometimes just cleaning the appliances in the kitchen takes 4 or 5 hours.

2. This gets argued a lot on these forums. From what I've seen, it is legal in some states, not in others. California might be one of the states that considers this a landlord expense. In my state, carpet cleaning is almost always the expense of the moving out tenant. If this isn't allowed in California then this would be one you should get back.

3. Nail holes are typically wear and tear. Bolt holes, on the other hand, such as for hanging a tv, are damage. Sometimes it is necessary to repaint an entire wall to fix this. Our painter charges about $50 per wall he has to paint. So if you had multiple tvs, or holes for cable lines drilled, that could easily reach $300. Repainting the entire interior should cost far more than this.

4. If you broke a window and the blind broke also, that is definitely on you. As for the other one, if you never informed the landlord it was broken, and you don't have any dated pictures showing it was broken, that's on you too. Did the landlord not have you fill out a move in condition sheet, or do a move in walkthrough? Do that on all future rentals. If you aren't given a form, make your own list and turn a copy into the landlord, make sure they sign and date your copy.

5. Again, if you didn't inform him it was broken and changed the lock on your own without getting permission, they can probably charge you for this.

6. You aren't disputing that one

7. $5 isn't worth fighting over, but if you don't have photos at move out, that would be tough to prove.

8 & 9 I wouldn't consider unclogging to be wear and tear. That is deferred tenant maintenance. If the drains weren't clogged when the tenant moved in, they shouldn't be clogged at move out. This falls in the category of "take everything with you that you brought in, including hair, dirt, etc". If it was a minor clog that you didn't realize was becoming clogged, that is a little different. This is a little bit of a grey one and California might side with you on this.

10. You aren't disputing that one

11. Were you there for 10 days you didn't pay for? Or is the LL charging you for the time it took him to clean the house. If the former, that is legit. If the latter, that is probably not.

Overall, I wouldn't disagree with most of these charges. I am a landlord, but I've been a tenant also.

I do believe in California that the LL has to do a pre-move out walkthrough if the tenant requests it. Did you do that?

On the garage door repair, was the repair approved by the landlord before you did it? Why did you pay the bill instead of the landlord?

California is more tenant friendly than most states, so you might have an argument on some of the grey area ones.
Rate this post positively Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-26-2015, 08:20 PM
 
Location: Riverside Ca
22,155 posts, read 29,760,554 times
Reputation: 35353
Quote:
Originally Posted by coverlady View Post
Thank you for your reply,

Here is the list of charge,


1. General House Cleaning ($140) We actually scheduled a cleaning crew to do the cleaning on the moving out date. When my husband called the landlord to inform him on the matter, he told my husband that he will need to do a cleaning no matter what, even after we did the cleaning on our side.
He told my husband no need to spend money to do cleaning. he told my husband that he will take care of the cleaning, whatever the cost we can arrange and split the amount. At the end, he did not honor his word, he put the full charge on us!
2. Carpet Cleaning ($180) From my understanding that tenant do not have to do a professional carpet cleaning before return the key to landlord, the professional house cleaning service is included a vacuum cleaning. I think the usage of the carpet counted as wear and tear, but he charged us $180. Also he only provided us $70 when we moved into the condo upon our request, because he did not perform a carpet cleaning after the previous tenant left. The condo is not very big and for the amount of the charge is very unreasonable.


For me personally I feel that a charge is due if the carpet is stained or smells. Otherwise if it's clean and vacuumed I just pay someone to clean it before new tenants move in anyway. When I turn over a rental to a tenant it's clean. No stains on carpet walls freshly painted. Clean counters drapes blinds oven fridge and cabinets etc everything works.
Other than wear and tear when turned back to me I can apply charges if I feel it's warranted..



3. Painting ($300) There were nail holes on the wall due to the installation of TV and Internet Cable Router, but is that counts for normal wear and tear?

Nope sorry that's not wear and tear that's damage. A scuff mark from brushing against the wall or paint peeling on its own is wear tear..

4. Replaced 2 window blinds (Living Room & Kitchen) ($150) Kitchen blinds was already broken when we moved in, We thought it was minor issued, so we never bother to ask him to change for us. However he took this as advantage to charge us for his new tenant. The Living room blind was caused by window break accident. We notified the landlord immediately when the accident occurred. We paid half of the window replacement, he never mentioned anything about the blind during the replacement of window.

This us why you always ask and fill out a initial walk through form. Then you ask for repairs for things that break and you document everything in writing. the one you broke is chargeable. But the originsl already broken blind should of been notified and replaced but you let it go. Don't do that next time

5. Installed new lock (lower lock on door to garage, lock broken) ($40) The Lock was already broken when we moved in, we installed our own lock during the time of our stay.

Same as above. Documenting broken things in the beginning if the move would save you money at the end of the move. This would if been a replace and wear item.

6. Repaired hinge to small bathroom cabinet doors. ($10) We honored the Charge

Why? That's wear and tear.

7. Replaced missing electrical socket panel in kitchen. ($5) We did not recall any missing panel.

Are you talking about a outlet cover plate? Again document at move in. That's why you have a initisl inspection sheet.

8. Repaired Master Bedroom sink drain cap and unclogged sink ($15) Before we moved out the house, the both sink drain caps were there. For the unclogged work, we believed this will counted as normal wear and tear.

Clogging is not wear tear. Something causes the clog. Hair, soap, floss string, objects dropped. Wear and tear would be the stopper wearing out from use

9. Unclogged bath tub drain ($15) Is this also counted for normal wear and tear!!

Nope

10. Missing Guest Park Placard ($20) We will honored the cost.

Where is the placard? Outside?

11. 10 days rent deductions ($496.66)

Rent deduction for what?


Also, on top of that, the landlord has to reimbursement us the repair cost for the garage door of $110.00, he never did.

Sorry what? You did a repair he never reimbursed you?

Please let me know if all the charges are reasonable or not!

Thank you,
Some are reasonable others aren't.
Rate this post positively Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-26-2015, 10:07 PM
 
27,968 posts, read 60,271,384 times
Reputation: 22852
A couple of comments that will help you immensely...

Your Move In condition and inventory documentation and your request, as permitted by California Law for a pre-move inspection should cover you.

California is very specific that the tenant has the right to receive a pre-move inspection... if the owner did not offer or failed to provide one upon request... you have a very strong case... in my opinion.

Many part time landlords are totally unaware of this requirement.

See the California Consumer Affairs Landlord Tenant publication for additional information.
Rate this post positively Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-27-2015, 03:03 AM
 
27,095 posts, read 44,461,940 times
Reputation: 15437
Quote:
Originally Posted by coverlady View Post
Thank you for your reply,

Here is the list of charge,


1. General House Cleaning ($140) We actually scheduled a cleaning crew to do the cleaning on the moving out date. When my husband called the landlord to inform him on the matter, he told my husband that he will need to do a cleaning no matter what, even after we did the cleaning on our side.
He told my husband no need to spend money to do cleaning. he told my husband that he will take care of the cleaning, whatever the cost we can arrange and split the amount. At the end, he did not honor his word, he put the full charge on us!


2. Carpet Cleaning ($180) From my understanding that tenant do not have to do a professional carpet cleaning before return the key to landlord, the professional house cleaning service is included a vacuum cleaning. I think the usage of the carpet counted as wear and tear, but he charged us $180. Also he only provided us $70 when we moved into the condo upon our request, because he did not perform a carpet cleaning after the previous tenant left. The condo is not very big and for the amount of the charge is very unreasonable.

3. Painting ($300) There were nail holes on the wall due to the installation of TV and Internet Cable Router, but is that counts for normal wear and tear?

4. Replaced 2 window blinds (Living Room & Kitchen) ($150) Kitchen blinds was already broken when we moved in, We thought it was minor issued, so we never bother to ask him to change for us. However he took this as advantage to charge us for his new tenant. The Living room blind was caused by window break accident. We notified the landlord immediately when the accident occurred. We paid half of the window replacement, he never mentioned anything about the blind during the replacement of window.

5. Installed new lock (lower lock on door to garage, lock broken) ($40) The Lock was already broken when we moved in, we installed our own lock during the time of our stay.

6. Repaired hinge to small bathroom cabinet doors. ($10) We honored the Charge

7. Replaced missing electrical socket panel in kitchen. ($5) We did not recall any missing panel.

8. Repaired Master Bedroom sink drain cap and unclogged sink ($15) Before we moved out the house, the both sink drain caps were there. For the unclogged work, we believed this will counted as normal wear and tear.

9. Unclogged bath tub drain ($15) Is this also counted for normal wear and tear!!

10. Missing Guest Park Placard ($20) We will honored the cost.

11. 10 days rent deductions ($496.66)


Also, on top of that, the landlord has to reimbursement us the repair cost for the garage door of $110.00, he never did.


Please let me know if all the charges are reasonable or not!

Thank you,
Your LL is very reasonable and we once got $ 450 rewarded after asking it in court for cleaning.

Hair left in the drain is not normal wear and tear and disgusting and we charge for that as well... or did you think it is nice to move in and have it clogged from the previous tenant since that is actually what you are saying..normal wear and tear and that is how you got the house since it wasn't a new built home.

A electrical panel missing is not normal wear and tear and it says enough that you didn't notice it missing

10 days rent reductions is to me all telling!
Rate this post positively Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-27-2015, 10:40 AM
 
4 posts, read 10,587 times
Reputation: 10
Thank you all for your helpful comments. Our landlord was out of state when we sent him the 30 days notice. He did mention for a walk-through inspection, but we never actually had it due to his absence. He did ask someone to bring interested parties into our condo during the 30 days period to show them around the property. However, the person never mention about the walk-through. We never received the written list or itemized statement before moving out to have a chance find someone on our own to fix the problem or problems that the landlord thinks needed for the property. Also He never mentioned anything after we returned the key back to him. 19 days later, we received the his email with all the deductions.

Also, the actually moved-in condition was bad. We asked him for a professional deep house cleaning and professional carpet clean after moved into the condo upon our request for health issue. Is that counted as moved-in condition?

I would like to know in California since it is required by law that the landlord must notify the tenant in writing within a reasonable time before the end of tenancy of his or her intention to inspect the property and give the itemized statement prior to the tenant’s move-out. In our case, our landlord never did that. We never received any written notice from him before end of our term with him. Do I have a strong point to sue him for that reason?

Thank you all !

Last edited by coverlady; 03-27-2015 at 11:09 AM..
Rate this post positively Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-27-2015, 12:59 PM
 
Location: North Idaho
30,362 posts, read 41,548,777 times
Reputation: 69497
Quote:
Originally Posted by coverlady View Post
........1. General House Cleaning ($140)

2. Carpet Cleaning ($180)

3. Painting ($300) There were nail holes on the wall due to the installation of TV and Internet Cable Router, but is that counts for normal wear and tear?

4. Replaced 2 window blinds (Living Room & Kitchen) ($150) Kitchen blinds was already broken when we moved in,

5. Installed new lock (lower lock on door to garage, lock broken) ($40) The Lock was already broken when we moved in,

8. Repaired Master Bedroom sink drain cap and unclogged sink ($15)

9. Unclogged bath tub drain ($15)

11. 10 days rent deductions ($496.66)........,
$140 is cheap for professional house cleaning.

There are many carpet cleaning companies that charge more than $180 for cleaning. $250 or more isn't all that unusual. I believe that in California, the landlord can charge you for carpet cleaning when you move out as long as it is in the lease. You can check state law to verify that.

Holes left in the walls from a TV and entertainment system are not normal wear and tear. You get to fix that when you move out. The next tenant doesn't want to look at holes you left in the walls. $300 is about what that costs to pay a painter to patch, Spackle, sand, texture, and match paint to repair nail holes. Unfortunately, that is a three day job because of drying time, even if it is just an hour a day. The painter has to be paid for three trips to the house.

Blinds and locks, do you have proof of that? Did you take good photos of the unit before you moved in? Did you submit a written condition report before you moved your furniture in, stating that blinds were broken and locks missing?

Really? You clogged both the sink and the bathtub drain? Clog removal and hair removal from the drains is at the expense of the tenant. That wasn't your landlord washing his hair and clogging the drains with his hair and cooking grease. Honest to Pete, I can live in a house for over ten years and never have a clogged drain. All it takes is some minimal care.

Ten day rent deduction sounds like you weren't out when you said you would be out, or else you failed to pay part of a month's rent at some point. Is there some reason you believe you shouldn't have to pay rent while you have possession of the property? Do you have receipts that prove all rent was paid and the charge is unjustified?

If you want to go to small claims court, you must have proof of every allegation you make. Photos, receipts, documents, the whole thing. A judge isn't interested in he said/ she said. The judge wants to see proof.

I didn't see your house before you moved in or after you moved out. I don't know whether or not the charges are justified, but I can tell you, as a landlord who has cleaned up after a tenant moved out, that the actual dollar amounts are not out of line at all. Cleaning up and repairing costs a lot of money.

So many tenants are sure that cleaning up and repairing is just a minor little $5 project. I always suggest that next time, they take their minor little effort and no time at all and clean and repair before they move out instead of walking away and leaving it for the landlord to do. That way they get to see that it isn't an easy 15 minute job and they get to see how outrageously overpriced all the little parts are. It's nothing for me to walk out of Home Depot with over $100 spent just to do a few "minor" little repairs.
Rate this post positively Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-27-2015, 01:23 PM
 
4 posts, read 10,587 times
Reputation: 10
For House cleaning issue, we were going to hire the professional cleaning crew on our own expense originally. When the landlord heard that from my husband, he told my husband that he has to do it one more time before his new tenant to move into to the condo. He told us not to do so and let him take care of that, at the end he put the whole cleaning cost on us, instead of split the amount into half.

Carpet cleaning I believe in California is not a requirement to tenant unless it is damaged or super dirty. our carpet is will care. We hired professional cleaning crew to clean the condo on a regular basis period.

For painting, We did not have anything on the wall, only one TV and the internet router in the living room. No pictures on the wall or décor staff.

Blinds and lock without pictures, we will take care the cost.

Of course NO, the sinks and bathtub were under the workable condition.

10 days rent was under the agreement between the landlord and us to direct deduct from the deposit, we have no problem no that.

***Landlord did not provide us the list of items needed to be fix before move out. We have our own handyman to help us, and price will be much cheaper than what the landlord stated on the deduction list. Landlord did not inform us anything except that he will take care the cleaning at the end. If we do know prior, we can do arrangement ourselves!

We felt that the landlord took a advantage from us by eating up of our deposit.

Last edited by coverlady; 03-27-2015 at 02:10 PM..
Rate this post positively Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


 
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:
Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Real Estate > Renting

All times are GMT -6.

¬© 2005-2022, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top