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  1. #1
    mopatzde is offline Junior Member
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    Landlord alleging $2300 in damages, but will not provide anything to support... Help!

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Florida

    Hi,

    My lease ended back in October of 2009 and my landlord lived next door to me. To my knowledge, the lease ended on good terms (in fact, I have emails). 15 days after I moved out, I received a certified letter from my landlord advising that he was pursuing my roommate and I for $1800.00 and he was keeping our $500.00 deposit (so he was seeking reimbursement for a total of $2300.00). I immediately requested documentation to support that these damages were incurred and receipts to substantiate the amount of the supposed repairs. He never sent anything to me. I finally mailed a letter to the Housing Commission informing them of the fraudulant claim. He replied to the Housing Commission with a breakdown of the fees incurred (no receipts and no proof of damages), stating the following: $10.00 to clean bath, $10.00 to clean Kitchen, $30.00 to take out trash, $100.00 to rekey house (all house keys and garage door openers were left on counter), $1500.00 paint labor, $350.00 paint supplies, $200.00 broken tile in kitchen, $50.00 rekey mailbox (returned via certified mail). Aside from the obvious miscalculation (the above amounts only total $2250.00, not the $2300.00 he is pursuing), he also acknowledged in his response to the Housing Commission that he had all the keys and the total amount he is still pursuing is $1700.00. The Housing Commission has advised that if we are unable to mitigate the issues, we will have to settle it in small claims court. Initially, I was going to just let him keep my deposit to avoid the hastle, but I just received an email from him advising that if he does not receive payment for the balance of $1800.00 (even though he admits he is only pursuing $1700.00) within 5 days (May 15th) he will forward this "debt" to collections. Considering he has no proof and has yet to provide any of the requested documentation is this even legal? I have had no correspondence from him for over 4 months (since the Housing Commission got involved)... Why is he all of a sudden pursuing me? Also, should I just go ahead and take him to small claims court for my deposit? The only thing he can actually support is the chipped tile in the kitchen and I believe my roommate did not take his trash out. Also, he alleges that the entire house had to be repainted because we left "huge holes" in the walls and used the wrong paint. First of all, we covered all the holes with wall putty, none of which were "huge," they were from small nails used to hang paintings (which he provided because he wanted to avoid any damage to the walls). And we used the paint provided to us by the landlord to cover the wall putty and do touchups. Also, since both my roommate and I were on the lease, why am I the only one being sent to collections? Do you think this is just a scare tactic? I almost feel like he thinks I will just pay it because of this threat, however it seems like he is unwilling to pursue this in small claims court because he doesn't have a leg to stand on... I could really use some guidance on this!!!

    Thank you!What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)?
  2. #2
    Banned_Princess is offline Senior Member
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    Sue him for the max amount your state allows. google security deposits in your state. Some states allow for up to 3x the security for claims on the security dep that are not in good faith, or acurate, or out of control, which your LL appears to be.
  3. #3
    Banned_Princess is offline Senior Member
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    3)(a) Upon the vacating of the premises for termination of the lease, if the landlord does not intend to impose a claim on the security deposit, the landlord shall have 15 days to return the security deposit together with interest if otherwise required, or the landlord shall have 30 days to give the tenant written notice by certified mail to the tenant's last known mailing address of his or her intention to impose a claim on the deposit and the reason for imposing the claim. The notice shall contain a statement in substantially the following form:


    This is a notice of my intention to impose a claim for damages in the amount of _____ upon your security deposit, due to _____. It is sent to you as required by s. 83.49(3), Florida Statutes. You are hereby notified that you must object in writing to this deduction from your security deposit within 15 days from the time you receive this notice or I will be authorized to deduct my claim from your security deposit. Your objection must be sent to (landlord's address) .


    If the landlord fails to give the required notice within the 30-day period, he or she forfeits the right to impose a claim upon the security deposit.

    (b) Unless the tenant objects to the imposition of the landlord's claim or the amount thereof within 15 days after receipt of the landlord's notice of intention to impose a claim, the landlord may then deduct the amount of his or her claim and shall remit the balance of the deposit to the tenant within 30 days after the date of the notice of intention to impose a claim for damages.

    (c) If either party institutes an action in a court of competent jurisdiction to adjudicate the party's right to the security deposit, the prevailing party is entitled to receive his or her court costs plus a reasonable fee for his or her attorney. The court shall advance the cause on the calendar.

    (d) Compliance with this section by an individual or business entity authorized to conduct business in this state, including Florida-licensed real estate brokers and sales associates, shall constitute compliance with all other relevant Florida Statutes pertaining to security deposits held pursuant to a rental agreement or other landlord-tenant relationship. Enforcement personnel shall look solely to this section to determine compliance. This section prevails over any conflicting provisions in chapter 475 and in other sections of the Florida Statutes, and shall operate to permit licensed real estate brokers to disburse security deposits and deposit money without having to comply with the notice and settlement procedures contained in s. 475.25(1)(d).


    http://www.flsenate.gov/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=Ch0083/SEC49.HTM&Title=->2009->Ch0083->Section%2049#0083.49
  4. #4
    NC Aggie is offline Member
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    I think your best approach would be to first try to resolve the issue between you and your former landlord because often these situations end with both sides not getting exactly what they want. Unless you feel there was no damage beyond normal wear and tear, try to reach an agreement upon what you think is reasonable. Normally, landlords take pictures of damage before having work completed. If he doesn't have photo documentation of the damage he reportedly had fixed, then that doesn't necessarily mean he doesn't have a legitimate claim but receipts or statements proving he had repairs done would be needed. I personally wouldn't recommend small claims court unless you are absolutely certain the damage is less than your security deposit. The reason being is he may be bluffing with his claim to forward your debt to a collections agency and if you take him to court, the court may rule in his favor especially considering you've acknowledged in so many words that there was SOME damage.
  5. #5
    Banned_Princess is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by NC Aggie View Post
    I think your best approach would be to first try to resolve the issue between you and your former landlord because often these situations end with both sides not getting exactly what they want. Unless you feel there was no damage beyond normal wear and tear, try to reach an agreement upon what you think is reasonable. Normally, landlords take pictures of damage before having work completed. If he doesn't have photo documentation of the damage he reportedly had fixed, then that doesn't necessarily mean he doesn't have a legitimate claim but receipts or statements proving he had repairs done would be needed. I personally wouldn't recommend small claims court unless you are absolutely certain the damage is less than your security deposit. The reason being is he may be bluffing with his claim to forward your debt to a collections agency and if you take him to court, the court may rule in his favor especially considering you've acknowledged in so many words that there was SOME damage.
    This poster already tried that. He had to get the HOUSING COMMISSION involved!!! and if he waits any longer, he wont be able to pursue this in court.

    Please read the thread in full before adding your almost useless 2 cents.

    PLUS if you read the law I posted on this, the court most likely will side with the tenant because the LL did not follow the legally correct procedure at all regarding the return of the deposit, or accounting of the damages.

    At worst the judge will side with the LL and at least then, OP will be sure he is not being taken advantage of, and a set amount will be established, and LL can quit his rubberband claims to the amount.
  6. #6
    NC Aggie is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Banned_Princess View Post
    This poster already tried that. He had to get the HOUSING COMMISSION involved!!! and if he waits any longer, he wont be able to pursue this in court.

    Please read the thread in full before adding your almost useless 2 cents.

    PLUS if you read the law I posted on this, the court most likely will side with the tenant because the LL did not follow the legally correct procedure at all regarding the return of the deposit, or accounting of the damages.

    At worst the judge will side with the LL and at least then, OP will be sure he is not being taken advantage of, and a set amount will be established, and LL can quit his rubberband claims to the amount.
    I read the thread in its entirety and I think you're making the ASSumption that the tenant is OWED his/her deposit and by merely objecting to the landlord's claim of damage, the landlord is supposed to return the security deposit? That's not what the statues say. The landlord fullfilled the first requirement and that's notifying the tenant that he/she is imposing a claim on the deposit. A list of itemized damages isn't required within 15 days; and it appears it has been provided at some point. The tenant wouldn't be awarded his/her security deposit in court if the court rules that there were legitimate damages and repairs done that exceed their security deposit. That's why I stated that I wouldn't pursue the matter unless I was certain the damages and repairs were less than my security deposit.
  7. #7
    Banned_Princess is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by NC Aggie View Post
    I read the thread in its entirety and I think you're making the ASSumption that the tenant is OWED his/her deposit and by merely objecting to the landlord's claim of damage, the landlord is supposed to return the security deposit? That's not what the statues say. The landlord fullfilled the first requirement and that's notifying the tenant that he/she is imposing a claim on the deposit. A list of itemized damages isn't required within 15 days; and it appears it has been provided at some point. The tenant wouldn't be awarded his/her security deposit in court if the court rules that there were legitimate damages and repairs done that exceed their security deposit. That's why I stated that I wouldn't pursue the matter unless I was certain the damages and repairs were less than my security deposit.
    No he is OWED his security back because the LL failed to prove the damages he claimed in a lawful manner.
  8. #8
    mopatzde is offline Junior Member
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    Can anyone explain to me what reasonable wear and tear is? I mean, I would consider tiny holes from hanging pictures within reason. And considering we fixed all of them with wall putty, there really wasn't any damage aside from the ONE chipped tile. The wall paint used for touch ups, was the paint the landlord gave us. Can he really send a claim that isn't supported to collections? If he does, do I have any recourse? And can he only pursue me, even though there were TWO people that signed the lease?
  9. #9
    NC Aggie is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Banned_Princess View Post
    No he is OWED his security back because the LL failed to prove the damages he claimed in a lawful manner.
    The poster acknowledged that they reviewd an itemized list of damages...did you not read that part?
  10. #10
    Banned_Princess is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mopatzde View Post
    Can anyone explain to me what reasonable wear and tear is? I mean, I would consider tiny holes from hanging pictures within reason. And considering we fixed all of them with wall putty, there really wasn't any damage aside from the ONE chipped tile. The wall paint used for touch ups, was the paint the landlord gave us. Can he really send a claim that isn't supported to collections? If he does, do I have any recourse? And can he only pursue me, even though there were TWO people that signed the lease?
    How long did you live there?

    He can send it to collections, and your recourse wouldbe to write a letter to the collection agency asking for them to provide the jugement that demands you pay that money.

    Personally I would sue the LL today for the 500.00 back. Its cheap and easy, and if you win, you may also ask the legal cost be paid.

    Consult and retain a lawyer if you can. At least a free consultation with a lawyer in your area will have a better idea of your chanses, and whether or not its worth it. Sometimes there is a lawyer who defends and brings claims on a % of income basis.

    I say the suit is worth it. 1700 is alot of money over the inital 500 deposit.
  11. #11
    NC Aggie is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mopatzde View Post
    Can anyone explain to me what reasonable wear and tear is? I mean, I would consider tiny holes from hanging pictures within reason. And considering we fixed all of them with wall putty, there really wasn't any damage aside from the ONE chipped tile. The wall paint used for touch ups, was the paint the landlord gave us. Can he really send a claim that isn't supported to collections? If he does, do I have any recourse? And can he only pursue me, even though there were TWO people that signed the lease?
    If he sends your debt to collections, then you would probably have to take him to court. Normal wear and tear is "subjective" and there are some guides for what is considering normal wear and tear in the case of rental properties that can be found online or in bookstores. Hindsight is 50/50, but whenever you move out, it's always good to take pictures of how you left the place.
  12. #12
    Banned_Princess is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by NC Aggie View Post
    The poster acknowledged that they reviewd an itemized list of damages...did you not read that part?
    Itemized list is not proof that thats what was actually incurred. AND LL didn't do that in the time frame allowed by law. The amounts on the list weren't even reasonable.

    Anyone can supply a list, The fact is, the LL didn't even do that until the housing commission got involved. well after the allowed time to do so.

    LL withheld the deposit, charged 2500$ more ,then dropped it to 1700 when the housing commission got involved, then sent a demand for 1800.

    That is not lawful, it is not in good faith, and it is worth bringing a civil suit against the LL.
  13. #13
    NC Aggie is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Banned_Princess View Post
    Itemized list is not proof that thats what was actually incurred. AND LL didn't do that in the time frame allowed by law. The amounts on the list weren't even reasonable.

    Anyone can supply a list, The fact is, the LL didn't even do that until the housing commission got involved. well after the allowed time to do so.

    LL withheld the deposit, charged 2500$ more ,then dropped it to 1700 when the housing commission got involved, then sent a demand for 1800.

    That is not lawful, it is not in good faith, and it is worth bringing a civil suit against the LL.
    So what is the "time frame" allowed by law to submit an itemized list or proof of damages incurred because the statue doesn't state one? Again, the point or purpose is to notify the tenant in a reasonable time that there is a claim on the deposit. The landlord is still allowed time to make those repairs. If the two parties cannot decide on reasonable costs for the repairs, then that's left up to a court to decide.

    I think you misread the original posting. The Landlord originally charged $1800 in excess of the $500 deposit (total $2300). That amount was deducted by $100 for the keys. I'm not here to say if the charges were reasonable because I honestly don't know because I don't know the extent of the repair needed. But I honestly don't see anything that I can say without doubt is unreasonable. It looks like painting is the bulk of the costs and depending on how many rooms and the area that needed to be painted, I think $1500 may be reasonable. I hired someone to do some painting at my home about a year ago and he charged me on average $200 per room.
  14. #14
    Banned_Princess is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mopatzde View Post
    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Florida

    Hi,

    My lease ended back in October of 2009 and my landlord lived next door to me. To my knowledge, the lease ended on good terms (in fact, I have emails). 15 days after I moved out, I received a certified letter from my landlord advising that he was pursuing my roommate and I for $1800.00 and he was keeping our $500.00 deposit (so he was seeking reimbursement for a total of $2300.00).

    I immediately requested documentation to support that these damages were incurred and receipts to substantiate the amount of the supposed repairs. He never sent anything to me.

    I finally mailed a letter to the Housing Commission informing them of the fraudulant claim. He replied to the Housing Commission with a breakdown of the fees incurred (no receipts and no proof of damages), stating the following: $10.00 to clean bath, $10.00 to clean Kitchen, $30.00 to take out trash, $100.00 to rekey house (all house keys and garage door openers were left on counter), $1500.00 paint labor, $350.00 paint supplies, $200.00 broken tile in kitchen, $50.00 rekey mailbox (returned via certified mail).

    Aside from the obvious miscalculation (the above amounts only total $2250.00, not the $2300.00 he is pursuing), he also acknowledged in his response to the Housing Commission that he had all the keys and the total amount he is still pursuing is $1700.00.

    The Housing Commission has advised that if we are unable to mitigate the issues, we will have to settle it in small claims court.

    Initially, I was going to just let him keep my deposit to avoid the hastle, but I just received an email from him advising that if he does not receive payment for the balance of $1800.00 (even though he admits he is only pursuing $1700.00) within 5 days (May 15th) he will forward this "debt" to collections.

    Considering he has no proof and has yet to provide any of the requested documentation is this even legal? I have had no correspondence from him for over 4 months (since the Housing Commission got involved)... Why is he all of a sudden pursuing me?

    Also, should I just go ahead and take him to small claims court for my deposit?

    The only thing he can actually support is the chipped tile in the kitchen and I believe my roommate did not take his trash out.

    Also, he alleges that the entire house had to be repainted because we left "huge holes" in the walls and used the wrong paint. First of all, we covered all the holes with wall putty, none of which were "huge," they were from small nails used to hang paintings (which he provided because he wanted to avoid any damage to the walls). And we used the paint provided to us by the landlord to cover the wall putty and do touchups.

    Also, since both my roommate and I were on the lease, why am I the only one being sent to collections? Do you think this is just a scare tactic? I almost feel like he thinks I will just pay it because of this threat, however it seems like he is unwilling to pursue this in small claims court because he doesn't have a leg to stand on... I could really use some guidance on this!!!

    Thank you!What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)?
    Quote Originally Posted by Banned_Princess View Post
    3)(a) Upon the vacating of the premises for termination of the lease, if the landlord does not intend to impose a claim on the security deposit, the landlord shall have 15 days to return the security deposit together with interest if otherwise required, or the landlord shall have 30 days to give the tenant written notice by certified mail to the tenant's last known mailing address of his or her intention to impose a claim on the deposit and the reason for imposing the claim.

    The notice shall contain a statement in substantially the following form:

    This is a notice of my intention to impose a claim for damages in the amount of _____ upon your security deposit, due to _____. It is sent to you as required by s. 83.49(3), Florida Statutes. You are hereby notified that you must object in writing to this deduction from your security deposit within 15 days from the time you receive this notice or I will be authorized to deduct my claim from your security deposit. Your objection must be sent to (landlord's address) .



    If the landlord fails to give the required notice within the 30-day period, he or she forfeits the right to impose a claim upon the security deposit.


    (b) Unless the tenant objects to the imposition of the landlord's claim or the amount thereof within 15 days after receipt of the landlord's notice of intention to impose a claim, the landlord may then deduct the amount of his or her claim and shall remit the balance of the deposit to the tenant within 30 days after the date of the notice of intention to impose a claim for damages.

    (c) If either party institutes an action in a court of competent jurisdiction to adjudicate the party's right to the security deposit, the prevailing party is entitled to receive his or her court costs plus a reasonable fee for his or her attorney. The court shall advance the cause on the calendar.




    http://www.flsenate.gov/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=Ch0083/SEC49.HTM&Title=->2009->Ch0083->Section%2049#0083.49
    I absolutely would take him to court.

    Thats just me, apparently NC person, would not.

    So its up to you poster, pay the amount he is asking, or get a judges decision on whether or not you owe that money.
  15. #15
    mopatzde is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Banned_Princess View Post
    How long did you live there?

    It was a year lease... And what's even worse, is my roommate and I are/were very clean.. We took AMAZING care of that place. As I said before, our landlord lived next door and we would actually hang out together all the time. It came as a huge shock when we got that letter, I never thought he would try to cheat us like this.

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