Landlord Problems
June 22, 2016 2:44 PM   Subscribe

We gave the rental company 30 days notice, its now 2 days from the latest possible turn-in date for the keys without incurring a penalty. Here is the problem. My building manager, didn't show up for my first scheduled walk through or even return my calls asking for an explanation and a reschedule. I emailed and called and left (multiple) messages to the actual company, they have not deigned to respond.

The only other thing I can add is that this company has blatantly ignored several maintenance calls and generally treat their tenants what I will politely call "like shit".

What are my options going forward? Will I have any legal recourse if they continue to ignore me and not take the keys back or go through the walk-through and itemization of repairs vs my security deposit? We're in Oakland, CA if that helps.
posted by deadwater to Law & Government (6 answers total)
If it's a rental company, can you go to their office and drop off the keys? Maybe take some video before you leave the apartment if you can't get a walkthrough.

Perhaps the Oakland Tenants Union can help?
posted by hydra77 at 3:00 PM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

Call the tenants union, yes. If they really blow you off and won't even take your call, either drop off the keys at their office or mail them, certified mail with delivery confirmation. Include in any such meeting or letter a forwarding address where they are to send your deposit. They have to send it within 21 days, and if they wrongfully withhold any, you can recover up to 3x that amount in small claims court.

More info here:
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 3:10 PM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you have a copy of the walk-through from when you rented, dig that out and make sure nothing is in much worse condition now. Then do you own walk-through once you've cleared out and cleaned, and photograph the condition of each room.
posted by Squeak Attack at 3:32 PM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

Nthing what is said above.

Document each room, if there's fair wear and tear, or unnoticed damage, make sure that you have closeups. Document what cleaning you have done in writing, and include photos of closets, fridge and oven. Get a witness as to the state the apartment was left in.

Note how and when you attempted contact. Mail keys certified mail with delivery.

Walk away and expect your deposit in 30 days.

If they give you a rash of crap, make Tenants Union noises.
posted by BlueHorse at 4:08 PM on June 22, 2016

Single -shot video of walkthrough which includes today's paper for proof of when you shot it, certified letter outlining why you're returning keys without their walkthrough and letting them know you shot video, address to send deposit to, done.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 7:48 PM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

If your building manager won't do the out-inspection with you (heck, even if they will) and you are worried about the rental company unfairly/illegally withholding from your security department, and you still have access to the apartment to do the out-inspection yourself, I would recommend bringing someone along who a small claims court would view as a somewhat neutral third party: a friend but not a family member or romantic interest, a representative from a tenants group or other official group, etc. To be most useful, such a person would have to be willing to potentially swear an affidavit about the move-out condition of the apartment should you have to fight for your security deposit.

Regardless, if you do the out-inspection without the building manager present, then use a state-recommended official form for this if at all possible, and mail a copy to the landlord certified mail, along with the keys. Your witness can sign the copy with a note that they witnessed the out-inspection; this can be a useful preemptive measure against security deposit theft, especially if the person is a representative of a tenants organization and notes that by their signature. And take photos. You could even include a note with the out-inspection report that electronic copies of the photos are available upon request, if you were so inclined.

My main point is: it's easier to give a crappy landlord the impression that stealing your security deposit would be more trouble than it is worth than it is to fight to get a stolen security deposit back. But this sounds like the sort of situation where it would be good to make sure that you have all necessary evidence to fight for your security deposit as well, just in case.
posted by eviemath at 3:56 PM on June 23, 2016

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