Misadventures in Renting
May 24, 2011 11:04 AM Subscribe
Security deposit ripped off by roommate
posted by marakesh to home & garden (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
First, let me say that none of this would have happened had I not been an idiot.
From March until about a week ago I've been renting a room in an apartment in suburban Wisconsin on a month-to-month basis. When I moved out, the landlord swept through in an inspection, decided that some yardwork had to be done before I could get my deposit back, and vanished. Since then my roommate - the only person currently on the lease - has completely avoided all attempts at communication. Asking him to set up another inspection didn't work. He never picks up his phone or answers texts. Confronting him personally only yielded the number of a random stranger who knows nothing about the whole thing. (The yardwork is done, of course.)
This is obviously pretty sketchy. But I was the one who put his name on the deposit checks, which I'm sure are long gone. So I would chalk this up to a valuable lesson, except that when trying to get the number from other ex-roommates I discovered that he's done this to all of them (that I've reached so far, anyway).
The money honestly wasn't that much. But with everybody else getting ripped off, now it's about Justice (and Revenge, and Warning Away Future Residents)
How can I best accomplish these three goals?
I don't have a great idea of what kinds of legal remedies are available against him, is there any hope on that front?
If I can reach the landlords, would they be likely to take our side? If so, how could I reach them?
Should I try confronting him again, now that I have a little more information? If so, how do I counter when he tries to direct me to the landlords again? (My stature and personality are not exactly intimidating, and this is definitely not something I have any experience in dealing with.)
Are there any sites for this kind of thing where I could post him as a scammer and make sure that's the top hit for his name forever?
(This is similar to a few previous AskMes, but it's sort of a weird variation on the usual procedure of claiming the apartment is trashed after the victim has left. My guess is he actually does give the deposit to the landlords, but has talked them into giving it back in cash. Of course, they could be in it together, too.)