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yet another deposit question

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tkoppel

Guest
What is the name of your state? Missouri

Typical deposit situation: I put down 650 bucks. Now he won't give it back. We lived there only a year, and moved out at the end of our lease (gave plenty notice) and landlord initially stated he'll only return 300 of it because he had to pay someone to paint the walls and "I'm not gonna pay for that." I tried to tell him that is considered regular maintenance and since the walls were not freshly painted when we moved in, he cannot reasonably attribute a paint job to our residency. He said he'd get back to me, which he never did. I sent a certified letter, outlining my position again on the matter, and stating I would seek mediation if I didn't get a check within 30 days. It's been 45 days and now I've begun that process and will go to small claims court if we don't get results with the mediator.

But so here's my question: When we moved in, no one did a walk through with us. The place was a disaster and we (and our families) had to clean and move out furniture of the previous tenant. Despite numerous phone calls after moving in, the landlord never did a walk-through. When we moved out, we left the place spotless (in better condition than when we moved in!) Despite numerous requests, the landlord never did a walk-through when we moved out. I have witnesses (although they live out of state -- and I'm not sure if the court would accept letters from them) Besides letters, I'm not sure what I have to prove my case in court, since there are no condition report documents. I now know I should have taken pictures, but I've never had problems getting a deposit back before, and I just didn't anticipate this. Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance.
 


HomeGuru

Senior Member
tkoppel said:
What is the name of your state? Missouri

Typical deposit situation: I put down 650 bucks. Now he won't give it back. We lived there only a year, and moved out at the end of our lease (gave plenty notice) and landlord initially stated he'll only return 300 of it because he had to pay someone to paint the walls and "I'm not gonna pay for that." I tried to tell him that is considered regular maintenance and since the walls were not freshly painted when we moved in, he cannot reasonably attribute a paint job to our residency. He said he'd get back to me, which he never did. I sent a certified letter, outlining my position again on the matter, and stating I would seek mediation if I didn't get a check within 30 days. It's been 45 days and now I've begun that process and will go to small claims court if we don't get results with the mediator.

But so here's my question: When we moved in, no one did a walk through with us. The place was a disaster and we (and our families) had to clean and move out furniture of the previous tenant. Despite numerous phone calls after moving in, the landlord never did a walk-through. When we moved out, we left the place spotless (in better condition than when we moved in!) Despite numerous requests, the landlord never did a walk-through when we moved out. I have witnesses (although they live out of state -- and I'm not sure if the court would accept letters from them) Besides letters, I'm not sure what I have to prove my case in court, since there are no condition report documents. I now know I should have taken pictures, but I've never had problems getting a deposit back before, and I just didn't anticipate this. Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance.

**A: did L give you any written notice after you vacated with respect to the disposition of your deposit?
 
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tkoppel

Guest
Like I said, I've never had trouble getting a deposit back before. I never anticipated someone would basically just steal my money. Now I know I should have done more on paper, but I was just calling him most of the time. The day we moved out I called him and asked about the deposit and he said, yeah I'll go over there and just do a quick look over the place and get back to you. I called again two weeks after I moved out and that's when he gave me the line about having to paint blah blah.. so it was a few days after that conversation I wrote him the letter telling him I expected to get my deposit back since it's a damage deposit and I did not damage the apartment in any way, and in fact left it in better condition than when we got it. I've never heard back from him, and like I said I've contacted the city mediator and am hoping to resolve it that way, but I still haven't heard from him, so I have the feeling I will be headed to small claims court. Does that answer your question?
 

HomeGuru

Senior Member
tkoppel said:
Like I said, I've never had trouble getting a deposit back before. I never anticipated someone would basically just steal my money. Now I know I should have done more on paper, but I was just calling him most of the time. The day we moved out I called him and asked about the deposit and he said, yeah I'll go over there and just do a quick look over the place and get back to you. I called again two weeks after I moved out and that's when he gave me the line about having to paint blah blah.. so it was a few days after that conversation I wrote him the letter telling him I expected to get my deposit back since it's a damage deposit and I did not damage the apartment in any way, and in fact left it in better condition than when we got it. I've never heard back from him, and like I said I've contacted the city mediator and am hoping to resolve it that way, but I still haven't heard from him, so I have the feeling I will be headed to small claims court. Does that answer your question?

**A: rather than a long winded thesis, a simple yes or no response to my question would have sufficed.
 

abezon

Senior Member
OK, it vaguely sounds like LL did not send you a list of deductions. If LL doesn't send a list of deductions within 30 days from the termination of the tenancy, LL can't withhold any of the deposit.

LL has the burden of proving that he complied with the laws and that you caused the damages he charged you for. You can argue that LL can't meet his burden of proof without move-in & move-out reports. Sue him.



Security deposits, limitation--return of deposit or notice of damages, when--withholding deposit, when--tenant's right to damages--security deposit defined.
535.300. 1. A landlord may not demand or receive a security deposit in excess of two months' rent.

2. Within thirty days after the date of termination of the tenancy, the landlord shall:

(1) Return the full amount of the security deposit; or

(2) Furnish to the tenant a written itemized list of the damages for which the security deposit or any portion thereof is withheld, along with the balance of the security deposit. The landlord shall have complied with this subsection by mailing such statement and any payment to the last known address of the tenant.

3. The landlord may withhold from the security deposit only such amounts as are reasonably necessary for the following reasons:

(1) To remedy a tenant's default in the payment of rent due to the landlord, pursuant to the rental agreement;

(2) To restore the dwelling unit to its condition at the commencement of the tenancy, ordinary wear and tear excepted; or

(3) To compensate the landlord for actual damages sustained as a result of the tenant's failure to give adequate notice to terminate the tenancy pursuant to law or the rental agreement; provided that the landlord makes reasonable efforts to mitigate damages.

4. The landlord shall give the tenant or his representative reasonable notice in writing at his last known address or in person of the date and time when the landlord will inspect the dwelling unit following the termination of the rental agreement to determine the amount of the security deposit to be withheld, and the inspection shall be held at a reasonable time. The tenant shall have the right to be present at the inspection of the dwelling unit at the time and date scheduled by the landlord.

5. If the landlord wrongfully withholds all or any portion of the security deposit in violation of this section, the tenant shall recover as damages not more than twice the amount wrongfully withheld.

***
 

HomeGuru

Senior Member
Bottomline: you are entitled to your entire security deposit back and are allowed to sue for double that.
 
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tkoppel

Guest
Abezon... thanks so much for your helpful reply. I think I understand from your message that LL needs to prove why he kept the deposit, just as much as I need to prove why I should get it back. It looks at this point like I am going to court, so I appreciate your help.

HomeGuru, I didn't really know what you were asking me, so I tried my best to answer your question. If you think that's a thesis, you've never seen one. And you never really answered the question that I initially posted. Yeah, thanks for your help.
 

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