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DGlandlord

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Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #1 
Bear with me here....
We have a tenant who just moved out. She moved in last year for Sept. 1st (actually she moved in several weeks early without asking because she was having issues with her ex) She did not have enough for 1st, last and security so we allowed her to pay the security over several months. Well, I made notations on the rental agreement which was a mistake, about when/how she would pay according to her. As it turned out, she paid her last month's rent and needed a new car so I told her to just use the last months rent as the first, and then we could add the last mo. rent to the security dep. and she could pay it over time. We have done this before, and it ususally works out fine. We were trying to make things easier for her as she has 2 kids and was going through a divorce. She paid us $100 per month for 3 months then gave us $300. Then never paid us again. Ok. NOW she is asking for her security deposite back. We have gone back and forth about it and she is going to get her brother who is an atty form another state involved(???) AND she did damage to the apt! There is a hole in the wall in her son's room, and she damaged the bathroom floor. She said its normal wear and tear but she is saying that she didn't know she could adjust the height of the shower curtain  so water didn't get all over the floor. Her mom who is a landlord in AK has been here helping her fight me (read: fight for her) until finally today I said I am only talking to tenant.

So, my question is, because I made the notation on the original lease, do we owe her that money even though she didn't pay it? (her word against ours) BTW, she has signed another lease/agreement since the original. Do we go by the most current?
OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,804
Reply with quote  #2 
Ok, the $600 you received from her was for security deposit, right?  Or was this for rent?  What notation did you make on her lease?  What did you write on her receipts when she paid the $600?  For SD?  I don't know what state you are in, but do you know how many days you have to return the statement to her?  Quit talking to her at all.  Communicate only in writing, and then only say that the deposit will be returned as required within XX days as per state law.  Within your state's timeline, send the itemization to her to show all the damages you have deducted from her deposit (property damages, unpaid rent & utilities, etc.)  If there is money left, send her a check for the rest.  If she owes more than the deposit, send her a bill, due immediately, with her itemization statement.  Her brother likely is not allowed to practice law in your state if he is licensed in another state.  Ignore these threats.  The mother was not on the lease, refuse to talk to her.  Cite privacy rights.  The most recent lease supercedes any previous ones.  Please repost with more info.
DGlandlord

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Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #3 
She is saying that she paid a security deposit, which she never did. The $600 we rec'd was the last month's rent, at least that is what we believed. She did not state otherwise. In her lease as of 2/07 (we do tenant-at-will and update agreements on the move-in anniversary but had to update our lease due to another tenant situation that was resolved...can you tell I am new at this?) she actually left the last month rent section blank, and wrote that she paid us a security dep. which I think was a mistake on her part- which is neither here nor there- which reinforces that she knew she did not pay us more than that. Bottom line is she owed us $1700 to move in/live here and only gave us $1200. I am in MA and have contacted my atty as well, just in case.

Thank you for your quick response! I am feeling very frustrated by all this...
OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,804
Reply with quote  #4 
1.  Did you give her a receipt for all the money that she paid you?  Did you note on that what the money was for?  (ie- $600 rent for xx/xx to xx/xx and last month's rent of $xxx)  She didn't put that number on your update form as a mistake, she did it on purpose!   Do you have receipts to show what she paid you for each month's rent and any other payments she made to you?

2.  At move in did she only pay the first month and the last month's?  Did she actually pay rent for the last month she was in the unit, or did she use the last month's rent that she paid at move in to cover the rent for this month?

3.  Did she make any payments on the deposit at all?  Is she claiming that she paid all of the deposit, but she actually didn't ever make these payments as required?  Does she have any receipts to show she paid a deposit?

4.  What notations did you make on the lease?  Something about deposit to be paid in installments, or what?

Please answer these questions and I can help you a little more.  If she never paid a deposit and has no receipt or cancelled check to show she did, I don't see how she can claim it now.  If she had paid one, but left with a balance owed in unpaid rent, damages to the unit, etc., you would have had to send her a statement within a certain amount of days of her move out to show how you applied her deposit to her balance.  Please repost with more info.
DGlandlord

Registered:
Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #5 
1.  Did you give her a receipt for all the money that she paid you?  Did you note on that what the money was for?  (ie- $600 rent for xx/xx to xx/xx and last month's rent of $xxx)  She didn't put that number on your update form as a mistake, she did it on purpose!   Do you have receipts to show what she paid you for each month's rent and any other payments she made to you?

-I did not give her a receipt. She always paid by check. Something I will now start doing(receipts) we give people who pay cash for their rent receipts, but have not given check payers one as I figured their check WAS their receipt.


2.  At move in did she only pay the first month and the last month's?  Did she actually pay rent for the last month she was in the unit, or did she use the last month's rent that she paid at move in to cover the rent for this month?

-When she signed the rental agreement, she paid her first month's rent with a check. I noted on the agreement that she was going to pay her security in $100 installments over the next several months, and wrote 8/25 next to her last month's rent as that is when she told me she would pay it by. What ended up happening, was she moved in early, and her car died, drama, drama, drama and I said why don't you just pay the last mo. along with the security installments (but never put it in writing, gah!) which she agreed to do. Assuming the $600 she did pay us was for the last mo. rent we used it to cover July's rent.

3.  Did she make any payments on the deposit at all?  Is she claiming that she paid all of the deposit, but she actually didn't ever make these payments as required?  Does she have any receipts to show she paid a deposit?

-She did pay $100 extra  a month for 3 months then paid us $300 and said she was all set. She paid the 3 $100 installments in a check, but then bounced a check so we then asked for a bank check or money order or cash, as is our policy for check bouncing. She gave us the final $300 in cash. I have not spoken to her since she came looking for her money the other day. I doubt she has any proof she gave us the money, since she didn't! But, I did not get a chance to ask for proof. I assume my atty will ask her for that, if it gets to that point.

4.  What notations did you make on the lease?  Something about deposit to be paid in installments, or what?

-I did write security to be paid in installments, and put 8/25 next to the last mo. rent line as that is when she said she'd pay by.

I did speak to my atty, and we are meeting with him tonite, but he said as per MA law, we don't even need to talk to her until 30 days is up as we are entitled to hold on to any security until then. He also said that the latest lease is the one you go by, and they are trying to go by the original one, as they know they left the security dep. blank in the current one because she knows she didn't pay it! That one is signed and dated by both of us. I believe that is the one we will be going by. This story gets even more convoluted, but I will spare you the drama/details. I am hoping a letter from my atty will end this drama. Now, I am wondering if I should contact her new landlord and warn him/her! Ex-Tenant made a couple comments while she was here that made me think the new landlord is going to be going down the same road with this woman as I did.

Thank you for your help!

OHlandlord

Registered:
Posts: 3,804
Reply with quote  #6 
Thank you.  Your explanation made this much clearer.  Absent any notations in the memo line of her checks, you could claim that money was last month's rent or a deposit.  It doesn't matter which since she didn't pay rent for the last month she was in her unit.  (Even if she had paid it towards the deposit, it would be used to cover the unpaid rent.)  You should be able to send her a copy of the page on her latest lease showing the blank line where "deposit" was (highlight it), and a statement saying that she had paid no money towards the deposit.  She had made 3 - $100 payments and a $300 payment ($600 total) towards last month's rent which she used on xx/xx/07 to cover rent for the period of xx/xx through xx/xx/07.  This statement should be mailed within state timelines (usually 30 days) just to cover yourself.  I'm betting your attorney will agree with me.  Send the statement and ignore her.  If she tries to take you to court, all you will have to do is show the same 2 things, the blank line for deposit and the rent record showing no rent was paid for that period.  Good luck.

BTW, that new LL should have called you for a reference before he/she rented to this woman.  As my oldest would say, "Her bad!"  Always check out former and present LL references before you sign with any tenant.  Obviously she either didn't bother to check or was bamboozled into thinking one of the tenant's freinds was her LL.  (You should always check the county auditor's site to be sure that IS the property owner.)  I wouldn't bother to call her now as she has already signed with this woman and is obligated to complete the end of the lease.
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