Now that I'm out, she's keeping the cash!
September 12, 2007 10:47 AM Subscribe
My landlord won't give me my deposit back. Is there anything I can do?
I'll try and keep this as short as possible.
I had to leave my apartment due to the owner deciding to redevelop the property. The lease was terminated legally, and though I wasn't happy about moving out, things never escalated beyond a few impassioned phone calls to the landlord and owner.
Prior to moving I asked my landlord about inspecting the unit and getting the deposit ($585) back. She told me that the building maintenance man would come by and do a walk-through and that I didn't have to worry about it. I told her that was fine. A week later we chatted on the phone and I asked how it went (as I was not home when the man came by). She told me that everything looked fine, that any problems were just, "normal wear and tear on the apartment." I explained to her that the floors were still a bit dirty, and she responded by saying, "Oh, honey, that's no problem, it's normal wear and tear and we're going to steam clean them anyway."
She asked for my new address and told me she would be sending over the check after I had moved out on the 31st.
Well, an envelope came yesterday, sans check. Instead, there was a letter inside that stated aside from taking my belongings with me, I had not completed all of the tasks on the "moveout checklist," and as such would not be getting my deposit back. This checklist was attached to the initial form that had terminated my lease. She included the list with her letter and wrote that all unchecked items had not been taken care of. She also said she had digital pictures of the entire unit if I had any questions.
Now then. My deposit was for $585, and I know that I did not do that much damage to the apartment. The dirtiest part was the carpet--and I admit that it was indeed dirty. Her maintenance man, however, had come through and gave me the all clear on it. She also had said that it was fine and, in her words, "normal wear and tear." I also know for a fact that other tenants received free steam cleanings of their carpets from her, and I had brought up the quality of the carpet numerous times with her. Not all of the damage to it took place during my lease anyway.
The rest of the apartment was just fine. There was no damage to walls, appliances or windows. Aside from one broken light fixture (maybe $10), there was literally nothing wrong. I did not leave the apartment sparkling clean, but it was completely empty, vacuumed and wiped down.
As for the moveout checklist she had attached, it contained menial cleaning duties like "wipe down the counters" and "clean out the refrigerator." All of the items were unchecked, even though I had completed nearly 90 percent of them. For example, "mop the kitchen floor" was unchecked, even though I had mopped it. The few items that I actually hadn't completed were along the same lines: "dust the blinds," "clean out the bathtub," and "remove the shower curtain." (Which I might add was there when I rented the apartment to begin with! That's why I left it!)
I am livid about this situation, because I took good care of the apartment, and I feel as though my landlord is simply trying to screw me out of money. She hasn't answered or returned my phone calls yet, and even if she were to get a hold of me, I am unsure what to do! I'm in Nebraska, if that makes any difference.
Is there anything I can do to get my money back? What is the best way to proceed with this? Help!