landlord problems - Posted by Anna

Posted by Skip on October 10, 2005 at 21:25:27:

Is the landlord doing something dishonest, or is this just a feeling you have? Obviously he shouldn’t keep your security deposit without good reason, but how do you know he’s planning to do that? I believe most landlords behave in a professional and ethical manner; it’s not good business practice to steal money from former tenants.

Did you ask him if he is going to return your security deposit? If so, what did he say? Maybe he forgot to fill out the final inspection form, as did you. And maybe it was inconvenient for him to meet you again at the apartment.

landlord problems - Posted by Anna

Posted by Anna on October 10, 2005 at 18:34:20:


I recently moved out of an apartment I was renting in San Francisco. Here is my problem (or potential problem)
We?ll call the landlord ?Tom?

One year ago - Oct. 1st, 2004, I rented Tom?s one bedroom and received a Move-In/Move-Out itemized statement for our initial inspection. We (Tom and I) marked the sheet of scuffs, stains and small window cracks. Overall, the apartment was in good condition.

Sept. 21, 2005 - Upon giving my 30 day notice, Tom came to the apartment for an inspection. Again, we pulled out our copies of the original statement and he marked the columns that he wanted me to clean (pretty much the entire place). There was no damage; the apartment just needed a thorough cleaning.

Sept. 25th I move all my belongings out.

Oct. 1st -After spending 3 days prior thoroughly cleaning the apartment, Tom and I meet at the apartment. He gives the place a quick walk through. I proudly show him the clean oven, defrosted fridge and floors. I ask him how everything looks, he says, ?fine, fine? and takes my keys and ushers me out the door. We were there a total of 5 minutes if that.

I know? shoulda, coulda, woulda. When I got home, I realized that we never took out our itemized statement to fill out the ?Final Inspection? column.
Being the passive, aggressive person I am, I call him and ask if we could meet again at the apartment to properly fill out the sheet. He says no and to just mail it to him and he will fill it out and mail back to me. He then hangs up on me.

My security deposit is $1500.00 and I am concerned that since I neglected to have him fill the sheet out at time of walk-through that I will get taken advantage of somehow. What should I do? Should I forget about it and not mail him the form and just hope to get the 1500.00 back in 3 weeks? I need help in handling this. I thought a letter stating that the apartment was in good condition would document and back me up but I don?t think that will help. I just feel like I didn?t look out for myself and have no proof that the apartment was left very clean and in good condition.

I notice on Craig?s List that he has not advertised the apartment yet. He only uses Craig?s List to rent. I am concerned.

Thanks for your help,

Re: landlord problems - Posted by Brian (UT)

Posted by Brian (UT) on October 12, 2005 at 11:29:04:


Just for your info, anytime you leave a unit in the future, take a few pictures, and show the unit to a few potential witnesses and have them sign and date a statement of condition in case you run into a sleaze landlord, and I’ve met many of them.

Plus your in California, and case law says you only need to leave your unit in a reasonably clean condition and the landlord can only deduct for things that exceed normal wear and tear. If he doesn’t treat you fair, go to small claims and get a judgement. you can always attach the security deposit of the next tenant.


Re: landlord problems- Thank you - Posted by Anna

Posted by Anna on October 11, 2005 at 17:03:21:

Thank you Marc, Skip and deposit, for taking the time to offer advice to my situation. It’s great to get an objective point of view especially from other landlords.

I am going to just relax, sit tight and wait for my deposit. I think I am over- worrying and being insecure. Should he not send me the full deposit, I will deal with it then.

Thank you again and I am learning so much about business and dealing with others from this site.

Re: landlord problems - Posted by deposit

Posted by deposit on October 11, 2005 at 11:45:52:

Keep in mind that many landlords will inpect the unit more thoroughly later without the pressure of a tenant hanging over their shoulder (just as you should have had time to inspect at your leisure at move-in time). It is easy to miss some things during a cursory inpection - although the general condition should have been assessed.

If you are really worried, I’d send him a polite follow-up letter simply stating the basic facts that you’ve said here - dates, the condition of the unit before and after, what was said during inspection, etc. Point out you made a follow-up call regarding the matter since you were concerned about getting back your full deposit, that you had requested another walk-thru at that time and what was said during that call. You might state that you would have been more than willing to rectify any problem found. Conclude with the expectation that you will receive a full refund in due course since he had not indicated any problem with the unit. This type of letter will probably put him on notice to not mess with you unfairly if you have suspicions that he might.

If for some reason he takes you to the cleaners for no good reason, you will have at least documented the situation in a letter and be able to bring your copy to court to help argue your position if it ever came to that.

Re: landlord problems - Posted by Marc Lamphier

Posted by Marc Lamphier on October 10, 2005 at 22:15:03:

Do you have some prior reason to think this individual is prone to dishonesty or takes advantage of his tenants?

I also have this walk-through formality and forms, etc. with my tenants, but frankly I also usually go through it with a quick nod and and “OK”. Infrequently, I will find something after the fact, when it is time to repaint and repair prior to the next tenant, but otherwise I send the tenants their security deposit. I probably would also be annoyed if a tenant called me back and wanted to go through it again because I would get the impression that the tenant didn’t trust me, after I just spent 2 years trusting you not to wreck my house.

But again, do have have some reason to think your landlord might be unreliable or dishonest? If no, just take him up on his offer to sign the sheet by mail.