This is more or less the first apartment I've had, so I'm figuring things out...
April 18, 2012 11:38 PM Subscribe
I want to tell my landlord that I won't be paying any rent this upcoming month, and that he should apply my security deposit to the rent instead. Would this be a wise move?
posted by lewedswiver to Work & Money (44 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm not looking for legal advice here (as I'm confident I'm in the right). Instead, I'm wondering, interpersonally, what would be the best thing to do in order to balance the landlord relationship and benefit me financially the most.
I moved into a room in a house at the beginning of this past month. When I moved in, there were certain repairs that had yet to be done: among them, the door frame was busted (the previous tenant had locked the door, and they had to break it in) and the bathroom sink had been taken out and needed to be replaced. I requested and received a written promise that the repairs would be done by the third of the month. If they were "not made to satisfaction or as promised," I would be "free to move out with full deposit refund." The door frame wasn't fixed until the 12th and the sink is still not replaced. Accordingly, I want the deposit back (though I don't want to move).
Note: the deposit I paid is equivalent in amount to a month's rent. I don't want to demand to the landlord that he just give me the deposit in cash -- I think this would annoy him and I would have a very difficult time, if I took that tack, of him actually giving me the money in cash. On the other hand, if I told him I simply would use the amount of my deposit to pay the next month's rent, I think I would still be in the right and this would be more effective (because the physical step of one person handing over cash to another person is always a big stumbling block).
On some level, in addition, I think this is kind of pressing -- because I think if I out the issue off a month, and paid next month's rent, and then tried to do this the month after that, he would just laugh and push it off month to month. After he did finally complete the repairs, in addition, I might have a significantly harder time getting my money back: if I kept pushing it back month to month until when I finally move, I'm afraid at that point he would come up with BS of repairs that needed to be done -- that is, stuff that even now exists, before I ever moved in -- and subtract that from the deposit (the baseboards on the wall need to be painted, there are paint stains on the floor, etc. etc.).
I'm in California. This is more-or-less my first ever apartment (certainly the first lease I've signed), and the landlord seems slightly sketchy in some ways, and I've never really navigated this type of landlord-renter relationship, so I could use some help... What do you think -- would my tactic of telling the landlord to use the deposit to pay my second month's rent be a wise one?