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Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #1 
Hi all,
It seems that there are good landlords still around and I would like advice how to deal with one that isn't.

I am a tenant and just moved 8-1-09 out of MI. There are some old issues with my landlord but I think I am being taken advantage of.First I had to repeatedly ask for the itemized damage deposit and then received some strange (to me) charges.

Some brief history...
My landlords wife has been caught numerous time trespassing (once outside my bedroom window at 7am while dressing) and we repeatedly told her to call, not e-mail and give 24 hours notice to come over.

In spring they left us a note about the yard needing to be mowed or they may have a fine from the township.Our lease stated we mow no fewer than every 2 weeks. Given spring rain the grass grew quite long but our next door neighbor had grass knee high! They also stated that it was a "debris field" because we had log benches by a fire pit (they had 10 foot logs, not benches, to sit on all ready there).

Next event of note was coming home to a note on the door that our property was being investigated for unusually high electric use (they said over $1,000 monthly average) by the police! Our bill is elec. and gas combo and even in the winter never more than 130. Called company and they said there was no such action from them or notes on the account. Called landlord and said so. I Made a joke about no Meth lab or such and told him to let us know more. Nothing

Next is moving out problems...
The kitchen sink backed up 3 days before leaving and we told him. We are on septic with no disposal. We plunged and used boiling water, no success. We bought a sink snake and snaked 5 feet and still slow but not plugged. We replaced one elbow piece of the trap due to rust on the threads. As tenants we thought this more than most would do.

When we returned the keys we showed the landlord a switch in the bathroom that was wearing out and he said no problem. This detail is more that he walked through as he didn't charge for that.

We shampooed the carpets. The placement of a cat box in a 4x6 space left an odor. This I understand but Landlord is stating whole house was unlivable and charge is $350. He walked through before we cleaned carpets and if was unlivable it would have been obvious then.

Next he is charging for flushing his well and softener $200. I put salt in and thought that was my extent of responsibility. My mom, also on a well, said it recommended once a year anyways, even though she dosen't.

Heres where it gets really weird...
over a week later as we showed up to get an itemized list (that wasn't ready)the landlord said there was a bullet hole in one bedroom window! That was not there during his walk through that he did with out damage list. My fiancee asked where is the hole in the wall from the bullet or better yet through the screen and that was when he asked if an attorney needs to be involved. He also asked for a piece of paper to quickly write down the damages. Needless to say my man was upset and left. 

My belief is that when he found out we were moving out of state that he was going to try to keep our money and would make up stuff until the totals were our whole deposit. He said many times this was his wife's investment property and they were going to begin extensive renovations upon our leave. Also of note the troubled kitchen plumbing is from 1957. He admitted that they had used boiling water to unplug it before.

Please help, time is of the essence!


Posts: 3,817
Reply with quote  #2 
MI has no statute requiring the LL to give you advance notice prior to their intent to enter the property.  You can ask for one, but they don't have to give it.  Your state doesn't have that statute.

In the spring, waiting 2 weeks to mow is too long.  You need to mow every 7-10 days.  Grass grows especially fast that time of year.  In hot summer, when it grows more slowly, you may be able to get by with once every 2 weeks.  The neighbor's grass height isn't their concern.  They won't get cited if he doesn't mow his grass.  But they will if their property isn't mowed.  You needed to keep grass low enough to meet city or county codes.  (You realy need to pull your shades while dressing.  This must be a rural area.)  What was the LL's wife doing out there?

Sounds as if the city or utility sent a notice to the wrong LL about an electric bill and an investigation.  Do they have a common last name or is there another LL with that last name around there?    Or maybe they put the wrong address on the letter (switched digits in the address)?  All it takes is one computer operator to type wrong...  Either way, nothing came of it and you had nothing to worry about, right?

While the carpet was newly shampooed (did you do this yourself?) the smell wouldn't be there.  But this odor and urine gets trapped in the pad and will come back later.  Carpets, where a pet has been, need to be professionally cleaned with a steam truck and treated with enzymes to get rid of the smell.  If that doesn't work, the carpet and pad need replaced (and sometimes the floor below needs sealed).  You may also need to wash down the walls and woodwork in this area.  You would be charged the depreciated cost of the carpet if the smell can't be removed, or for the cleaning fees.

I'm afraid I can't tell you anything about wells.  We have a water company so I don't know what maintenance or work is required.  Maybe another LL will know that.  But the only thing that boiling water would solve would be grease deposits.  If the drain was clogged with grease, that might melt it and unclog it.  It wouldn't affect hair, feminine products, foreign objects, or any other blockage.  Since it didn't clear with boiling water, all I can say is it probably wasn't grease.  His plumber can write on the bill what was the cause of the blockage.  If it was tenant caused, he can charge you.  If not, he can't.  Ask for a copy of the repair bill.

I don't know why you showed up in a week to get the itemization.  The LL has 30 days to do that form (per MI state law) and return it to your forwarding address so of course it wasn't ready.  If you just moved out on the 1st, he doesn't have to get that form finished until the 31st.  He has until then to find and charge you for damages.  This doesn't indicate he is looking for things to charge, only that he is taking the time allotted to him by state law to make that statement.  Time is not of the essence yet.  By law, he can wait until the 31st to send you the statement or any refund.  You cannot insist that it be done prior to then.  If you don't get a complete statement and refund by a few days into September (allowing postal delivery time), post back here and I will give you the steps to take.
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