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Old 11-20-2008, 07:00 PM   #1
aaronwillen
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Hey all...just figured I would get some peoples outside opinions here. Prior to my move to my new apartment I lived in a house which was converted to apartments. The house had a common entrance and each of the apartments was secured by its own locked door. This house was in a pseudo sketchy area by my med school. On the day I was moving out a burglary took place in which my mountain bike was taken from the basement, and another girl's apartment door was breached and her laptop and some jewelry taken. Long story short...when I e mailed her a few weeks after I moved to find out the status of my security deposit return (and prorated rent because I moved earlier than I paid for and she rented the place earlier too), she informed me she was holding me liable for the burglary. She states that I was the only person home at the time, and since I was moving I must have left a door open (no signs of forced entry.) HOWEVER not even 3 weeks prior to this I returned home to find the front door wide open and the automatic locking mechanism disengaged. Which tells you that other individuals in the house were leaving doors unlocked. She has no other proof of the burglary happening as a result of me aside from her allegations (no direct evidence) So I basically was going to just compromise with her and pay for the repairs to the girls doorframe because I figured it would be easier to just pay and shut her up than deal with a legal battle. However that wasnt good enough. A few days ago she wrote me an letter demanding $300 to fix the door and frame, $450 to rekey all the locks in the entire house, $300 to install an alarm system and 39.99/mo for 3 years...which i believe comes to about $2000. She was saying she wanted to receive payment or she would sue. Aside from the burglary issue is another issue of heat for last winter. She decided to have work done on the heating system in Jan. to have the heating split up onto individual thermostats...long story short the work was never completed and my apartment did not receive heat for from Jan through the end of the heating season. She states in her note that she was unable to keep track of the heating costs for the winter and would like a contribution of $390 dollars for the heat for the winter. Again, I didnt get heat from Jan onward and had to buy a space heater and run that non stop to stay warm. ANYHOW...I filed a lawsuit against her today for the amount of my security deposit and prorated rent (minus the deductions for late rent payment for 3 months which I agree to). I have a few months before the hearing. Any opinions/thoughts on this?? I know this is sort of long winded but if anyone is bored let me know...

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Old 11-20-2008, 07:03 PM   #2
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In addition to this...huge point...she is extremely neglegent. I had a major mouse issue...IE mice ****ting all over my apartment and she neglected to take care of this even after repeated e mails. She owns a property next door...one day last winter the fire department and gas emergency crew were called out as the whole house was full of CO......because the exhaust system for the heater was completely choked with carbon deposits as she didnt have the system serviced in "years" according to the gas people.....and yes I have my friend and former tenant of that house on my side...he wrote me a 2 page note highlighting this incident and other instances of neglegence on the part of the landlord.....which has been filed with the court.

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Old 11-20-2008, 07:12 PM   #3
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Not sure what state you are in, but I would contact your local legal aid society. They have historically been very good at helping people with landlord issues. Or, if you can afford it, hire your own lawyer. But, I would try legal aid first. They could at the very least point you in the right direction.

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Old 11-20-2008, 07:20 PM   #4
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Maybe we'll see you on Judge Mathis.

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Old 11-20-2008, 07:23 PM   #5
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There are specific laws on this for each state. You should be able to research this for your state on the internet if you've not already done so. In most states, it's under fairly strict circumstances for a landlord to withhold a security deposit. There usually has to be notifications in writing in certain timeframes, the allowance (in writing) for you to be present at a walkthrough within so many weeks of you moving out, etc. Most landlords don't even know these laws and don't follow them. My inclination is that she doesn't have a chance. Double check on what you can sue for... you should be able to get interest and any moneys you spend (legally) in trying to get your money back.

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Old 11-20-2008, 08:33 PM   #6
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I already have sued her so basically im just waiting until the court date. I dont think she has much of a chance either...

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Old 11-20-2008, 08:42 PM   #7
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Did anyone report the robberies to the police? If not you should have and if you did I would assume the police are not holding you responsible and her accusing you of committing the crime would not hold up. She is playing detective, judge and jury here and that will not hold up in court. If it was not reported I am quite sure no one including the person who committed the robberies can be held accountable for anything by law. If you want your money I would not worry about her accusations as those matters should be in the hands of the police not hers. I am not a lawyer but that is what I think. Good luck!

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Old 11-20-2008, 09:22 PM   #8
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I had a problem one time with a landlord not giving the deposit back even though he verbally said he would when I returned the keys to him. He later claimed I had damaged this and that and was actually wanting more money from me. I went to my school's law school and met with the student legal aid. They sent one letter to him and within week I had my full deposit back in cash. He was full of crap and was trying to pull one over on me. The second I sought legal help he folded like a card house in a hurricane.

Sounds to me like she doesn't have a chance. It sucks that you have to go through it all and waste your time defending something you weren't responsible for.

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Old 11-20-2008, 09:30 PM   #9
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I'm in real estate so things are different from any where. First of all you rent your space which is different from common areas. I dont think you should be liable for damage to another unit. You were moving out & it not like you put a slip of paper in to stop the door from locking. Second demand to see police reports filed on the day you moved out.
the land lord can only keep you deposits for repairs to your unit which they have a time frame to inspect the unit. also check to see if the land lord has to put it in an interest bearing acount or a non interest bearing account. Look up case law on the internet for your defense. what part of the country are you from.

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Old 11-20-2008, 10:42 PM   #10
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When leaving an apartment that had changed management partway through our lease (the new management were trying to get everyone out so they could update), they tried to keep our security deposit. HWMBO looked up tenant/landlord laws and found that most err considerably on the side of the tenant. It turns out that if the walkthrough was not signed by both tenant and management, there is no legal right to collect a deposit, and illegally holding a damage deposit can result in collecting twice the amount deposited. He called the apartment complex and told the property manager that. We got our check in the mail 2 days later. ****.

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