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jenl8270

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Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #1 
I live in Arizona and I just moved out of a house that I rented for 10 1/2 years.   In the beginning, my landlords were very good, however, in the last few years, they were going through a divorce and really let the house go.  About six months ago, the upstairs shower was leaking into a downstairs bedroom.  The wife met a plumber at the house who quoted her $700 to fix the problem.  She flat out told me she didn't have the money to fix this.  Fortunately for me (because it was my bedroom it was leaking into), I had a friend who fixed it.  I paid for the parts and my friend spent a good amount of their time cutting into the ceiling, fixing the problem and re-drywalling the ceiling.  Also, a couple years ago, we re-painted the entire 5 bedroom house.  She bought the paint for us, but we bought all of the paint brushes, tape and all supplies needed to paint and we did all of the painting.  She bought cheap matte paint which NOTHING wipes off off

In my original lease, I paid a securing deposit in the amount of $1,025, a cleaning fee in the amount of $200 and a pet deposit in the amount of $200.  As we did the final walk through on March 31st, she said she would have to charge me for the areas of the carpet my cat had scratched at (and I do admit my cat did do this damage).  However, the carpet is at least 10 1/2 years old because that's how long I've lived there and it wasn't new when I moved in.  She also pointed out areas in the paint which she felt she should charge for.  The microwave door had a small crack in it and the lid of one of toilets had a crack in one spot.  When she saw the microwave, she told me that would pretty much eat up all of my deposit.  

I'm very frustrated.  On the day of the walk through, my daughter and I spent 6 hours cleaning the house in an effort to get all of my deposits back.  The house was spotlessly clean.  I was obviously a good tenant to have stayed for 10 1/2 years.  In closing, she went on to tell me that it would be about two weeks before she left me know what, if any, of my deposit I got back and that it would most likely be an additional two weeks to a month after that before I would get anything back because all of their money is tied up in their divorce.  I don't think this is legal.  

I'm just curious as to anyone's thoughts on any of this?  Thank you in advance for any advice.

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Jennifer Laidlaw
LLinVA

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Posts: 365
Reply with quote  #2 
It sounds like she's more desperate than just being a nasty landlord. It is unreasonable for her to expect any carpet left after 10 years, so I would say any damage to that is a non-issue since she should have expected to have to replace it all no matter what the condition. I believe that's longer than the depreciation takes for carpet anyway.

Paint shouldn't be much of a problem either. Again, after so long, she should expect AT LEAST a bunch of touch up. A lot of the time, a few minutes with a magic eraser does the trick.

There's no way any microwave in a rental will even come close to eating up a huge deposit like that. Even if she has to replace the whole thing (which she should expect to do anyway after 10 years), microwaves are $100-200. 

Toilet seat is normal wear and tear, not your fault. 

This will depend a lot on state law. We keep all our deposits completely separate, but it sounds like they didn't and she's just trying to eat up as much of it as she can. It's up to you if you want to sue her over it. For now, I would just speak to her rationally and say that all the things she mentioned are normal wear and tear that she should have expected from any tenant after ten years, none of it was damage caused by you. If she fights and you feel you should go to court, you will probably win, but even then I doubt you will ever see anything from it. I think talking to her reasonably before you get anything may make her give you a little more than she otherwise would have, then just move on with your life. It's not worth the headache over $1,000.
NickG130

Registered:
Posts: 10
Reply with quote  #3 

I wish I could actually ask you questions bc your situation aggravates me and I am a landlord. By now, you may have resolved this- but if you have not.. the statue of limitations is not nearly over for you to sue her/ him.

I have so many questions- like did you just sign one lease and them what? Did you sign another? And the last lease you signed- who was named as the lessor? and the first lease you signed who was named as the lessor since you actually entrusted your funds to him, her or them. 

I have no idea how old you are and whether your daughter is young, old, if you are married, widow whatever... but it is really moot. You wrote a lot about her divorce, but who is looking out for you and what is right is right!! Plus you did not live there less than a year and she was all tangled up in a divorce- but even if she was it is not your problem. It is great to be a nice human being if you can, but she is not being one. I am from Mass where you need to Escrow security and give Interest and it is very strict in favor of tenants.

A few other things confuse me since landlord tenant law is so heavily regulated by state- WHY DID YOU PLAY A CLEANING FEE UPON MOVING IN???? ANd a pet fee?? When I read your post I looked a but at AZ law & if either of those fees were non refundable your landlord(s) needed to state in writing right away why and how much. Pet fees are not a bad thing- but for it to be non refundable should mean she is using it to clean which I think is reasonable. For ex- I am not allowed to take ANYTHING not one cent over one month's rent as security and this just screws over the tenant- I am deathly allergic to cats and my houses are all hardwood so I would not entertain the idea of a dog unless I could take more of a refundable security. Since new prospective tenants, or buyers if she chose to sell may be allergic and very turned off- I think a pet fee for cleaning is reasonable, but I have never heard of paying a cleaning fee when moving in. Logic seems to me like you should not have had to clean at all since you paid for so much of it up front.

I do disagree about the toilet with the person who said it was normal wear and tear. I think you write the lid- NOT the seat. A seat is def. normal wear & tear after 2 years never mind over 10; however if you mean the back lid you would take off to see if you can stop it from running (where the guts of the toilet are)- breaking that is not normal. I went through it with a tenant I had for 8 months.. I had a family friend plumber who literally wold charge me $20 which is like zero in mass. I trust him 100% & he had zero reason to lie but I was 22 at the time and now I am 39 so maybe things changed; but if they had not he told me you need to replace the entire toilet bc they dont just sell lids and I would never be able to match it. I do make a lot of consideration for how long I have had a tenant and how good they were about paying.. I had a 9 year tenant & he said I don't feel like cleaning (a week b4 he moved out)- he said do you want me to hire someone or do you want to and take it out of my security.. I said I will handle it & I did hire merry maids bc the baseboards and everything needed to be cleaned, but I did return his entire security bc I was happy with how he treated the place and me for 9 years. 

The fact that you went above & beyond by paying for supplies and (in my opinion) you paid for labor too- that was your friend doing YOU a favor which was apparently worth about $700.00. She should be ashamed.

Floors are a tricky thing especially for me with tenants bc I have hardwood so if they severely scratch a section- really the only way I can bring it back to good is refinishing the room. But instead I measure the square footage of scratches and charge for what it would cost to do that area. I have yet to figure out a more fair way of doing it, but it screw me to do it that way. Rugs on the other hand are much easier- she probably had a low level rug in general in a rental and I would argue the life span of any rug was past its' prime after at minimum ten years. But in my opinion the only way to charge for that (which I never would and think is super messed up) would be to say Ok the entire rug in the room where the damage was $700.. After over a decade of depreciation it is worth $70 if that- your cat damaged 20% of the rug so she charges $14.. I am just tossing out numbers. Only a real jerk would take out $14 or anything for such an old rug. Then factoring in you taking care of repairs that are 100% her responsibility- you could have invoked fair housing rights, you may have been living in mold for years- all bc she was getting divorced. If she was that broke, she should have sold the house!!! You may have been breathing mold in for however long.. she is not right.

SInce this did interest me so much- I was def wondering who owns the house??? Was it her and her partner?? Was it always just her?? I mean owns- like registry of deeds says deed is in ___ name. Also, who was on your lease as the landlord. If you have her and her partner as people to go after- that is better since you are doubling the chance one of them cares about their credit and having a judgment following them around and if you were willing to do the paperwork you should be able to put a lien on it if she does not pay and you win... which I think you 100% would assuming i know all material facts.

Did you dive her a forwarding address??? Bc she only has 14 business days to refund your entire refundable security or provide you with a written document of itemized deductions and return the portion she is not withholding. It is NEVER a wash. Someone will owe someone something.

I am not sure why the painting came up in your post.. did she ask you to do it?? Or did you want to do it??? I paint between tenants but I do not paint while I have one in there. The 9 year tenant never asked me if he could paint, but I also do not use cheap paint. If he did not like the color, he should not have rented it. But if he asked if he could paint and I cleared the colors, I would have let him but I would not have paid for the supplies. Again probably a very different scenario. I use high gloss on trim and semi gloss (primed & 2 coats paint) on walls. The ceilings I use a flat paint but I have never had an issue with a ceiling. If she asked you to paint then you are just doing her more favors.. which is like "bit hand that feeds you". You would have been happy as my tenant bc I can replace a toilet and I would have only charged you for the toilet.. it is the labor that is more costly and I would have just done it myself. If you helped me out big time like u said u did to her with the repair that was her problem and would have cost her $700- then she has got some ovaries keeping a dime. The rug I would never have charged anyone for after 10 years- its junk at that point, and cleaning??? Ridiculous. 

Your post really bothers me bc I am a great landlord. I am strict in many ways, but something is broke I fix it lightning fast. If I can do it, it is done within a few hours of you telling me and if it is out of my range of what I can do- 3 days max and that means it happened friday afternoon an a holiday weekend and I just cant get anyone to come out. If you had flooding/ water damage I would have the plumber out ASAP - s0 3 days max if it was a holiday weekend.. then it may have taken a week for drywall or greenboard to dry before I could get a good look at what I needed to rip out to make sure there was no mold. The drywall and greenboard I can do (with a friend). 

It really bugged me what she did. If you have not yet received your money back and you want to talk about this more, let me know. I saw someone write it is not worth the 1k bux for the aggravation- I am not like that.. I am very principal orientated and YES you deserve your money back- even if it was $50

If you want to talk about it- email me Nickolas.pierotti@gmail.com

Or maybe you handled it- if she did not do the itemized list & you gave her your forwarding address then she is dead wrong!!! As far as the saying you can;t get blood from a stone- I don't believe it is applicable to your situation. Unless she sold the house and has zero on bank and does not work or get alimony etc.. she has something she does not want to lose or get a lien on.

This is one of those what is right is right. I end up on forums all the time bc I get the weirdest tenants who do the strangest things and I just do not know how to charge for things- like messing up an interior door beyond repair upstairs where the hallway has 4 doors so replacing it alone would cost $350- for door and mostly labor hanging doors is much harder than people think, but is is also like it wont match at all- but you can't change for all new doors- Mass is very anti landlord. I come across tenants advising each other how to hide damage from the landlord which really p-ses me off. I am going to figure it out and if youre honest with me, I probably would charge you nothing but whatever stupid things tenants try to do to hide it, makes the issue worse and they get hit harder in their security plus I am unforgiving when someone is trying to swindle me. My nine year tenant was not like the best tenant ever- he just was not handy so I was called over for lots of very stupid things that 95% of people with common sense would not need to call me for, but he paid on time and was polite.. he was just common sense dumb and I prefer me do it than have him mess something up. You did not say anything about your report with her but it seems like it was fine or even good. 

If you still have not received your money or at least an itemized list of what she was taking out and why- and u want to talk about it let me know. I worked for the HRC as a mediator in discrimination cases for federally protected classes, which it does not seem like u feel she discriminated against you. And I graduated law school - so I can't give out specific legal advise. I chose mediation and never took the bar exam and if I had it would not have ever been in AZ. I am  certified to mediate internationally but I can;t give out specific legal advice. I will talk to you as a friend if you wish and try to help you out if I can. Obviously I understand legal documents and I went to law school at night and have been a landlord in Mass since I was 22. I was a bus boy in college, then I worked construction, then law school while working construction days and being a landlord.. so I am well rounded. Unfortunately, AZ law not Mass law, but I understand how to read law (cases, statutes- which is what you would be dealing with & apply them to the facts).

I hope you got your money back. If you want to talk let me know. If you did not get it back, I hope you at least review your rights. A lot of courts have "Attorneys of the day"- you would call whoever handles housing cases in your county- call the clerks' office and ask if they give out free legal advise or if attorneys are there giving out free advice (In Mass & at least 4 other states I know of- there are landlord tenant attys for free one day of the week at the court- it only takes a phone call to ask & I also worked in a courthouse and we always had an atty giving out free advice to "pro se" litigants so it is very likely you have someone who you can see  in person show documents to etc..

I hope you resolved this as in got your money back, but contact me if you wish, I am new to this site as in signed up today so I am not sure if its' weird to have a dialogue w/ someone from here.. this is one resource I quickly found that I think can help you if emailing is an awkward thing

I do hope you got your money back & if not hope you will get something out of her/ her partner/ both of them. I know I am overly verbose, but I also want to mention that a strongly worded professional looking letter where you just cite the applicable law to your rights and demand the return of it in full or else you will file a small claims action under AZ statute bla bla.... I have seen it and done it a million times- people hear or read you quoting the law, they get nervous and all of a sudden have all your money right there. Her divorce is NOT your problem!!
Nick

If you want to go right to the source and look up Arizona law on security deposits -- or if you're writing a letter to your landlord or tenant and want to cite the applicable law -- the relevant statute(s) can be found at Arizona Revised Statutes (Annotated) § 33-1321. To access your state law, check out the Library of Congress’s legal research site.










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