Mefi, am I getting screwed over in this landlord/roommate situation?
January 17, 2012 7:03 PM Subscribe
Mefi, am I getting screwed over in this landlord situation?
posted by blue rare to law & government (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm based in Los Angeles, if there are any local Mefites who can help me out with this. I moved out of a shared house about a month ago, and am trying to claim my security deposit. I emailed my former roommate "X" today, asking for an update. (This landlord seems to prefer communicating only with her; phone calls and emails to him by me have gone mostly unanswered, except once).
She replied, saying that the landlord mentioned that he will be charging for:
1) the damage & acid wash repair of a concrete walkway in the backyard where I had spray painted a desk
2) the damage & estimated repair cost for a nail/screw hole in the wall over a vent shaft that he assumes damaged the shaft. I am unsure how he assumes there was damage, because my friend used a studfinder before drilling the holes. (Expert Mefi DIYers, can you shed some light?) He says this repair requires a multi day process of cutting into the wall, removing the dry wall, repairing/replacing the metal vent shaft, recovering and repainting the wall.
3) the dishwasher that he replaced shortly after you moved in. My roommate says that "He has shown that it was bumped into / pushed hard enough to break the dishwasher away from the mounting leaving a screw and debris in the machine. He claims this broke the locking mechanism and required the appliance to be replaced. He attributes this to damage upon your move in."
I'm not sure why he thinks I bumped into the machine hard enough to dismount it, as I haven't, another issue is that the appliance already was having difficulties turning on, but I'm worried that he'll argue the damage to the mounting & lock ultimately required the appliance to be replaced vs. repaired. Again, though, I never bumped or damaged the machine.
In his email to my roommate, he estimates "these charges to be expensive" and he "hoped [my roommate] had a substantial enough deposit from [me] to cover the repairs." My roommate says the "damages may exhaust and possibly exceed [my] deposit, however we can cross the bridge when we come to it."
I'm taken aback by all this; I had cleaned my room to the best of my ability, and spackled over holes, and then walked through the space with my third roommate, Y, who was going to be moving into my room. Afterwards, X emailed me to say they both found the bathroom to not be suitable, and would have the bathroom professionally cleaned. They sent me before and after pictures, so I'm perfectly fine with paying the cleaning fees. X is also charging me an additional $20 for a dish towel I used to clean my bathroom. This seems high to me, as I also washed the towel after I used it. (I moved into the shared house with a suitcase, and X had already outfitted the common areas of the house).
I'm worried that both X and the landlord are screwing me over. Or am I acting entitled about this? Admittedly I could have gone out and purchased another dish towel to scrub the bathroom. I'm also resentful because the landlord has repeatedly refused to respond to my emails or phone calls from the very beginning (I've saved all email interactions) to the point of emailing "X" about my rent payment. (It was late because I was out of town and had forgotten to write the check in advance. This landlord refused automated checks or credit card payments. I asked X to write the check for me, as I had done the same for her the month before, but for some reason she refused, saying I had to grant her power of attorney, and that I had forgotten, while she was unable to board a plane to return as planned).
It's been 17 days since my lease ended, and I just emailed a reminder about my deposit today; it's for 700USD. Should I expect to never see it again, and possibly pay more for the dishwasher and possible other damages? I asked for a walkthrough several times, but the landlord couldn't schedule one before I moved out, and then I was on holiday for a week (Xmas and New Years), so there could be additional damages that the landlord will add. I moved out on Dec. 20th, and really would like to get this wrapped up as soon as possible, but I feel like I'm getting screwed. Mefi, please let me know what I can do? I don't care about the money so much as my self-respect.