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Posted: 12/30/2005 9:14:35 AM EDT
If there's anything I hate, it's a thieving, unscrupulous business person who tries to take advantage of people.

I've posted recently about my father-in-law, and his battle to stop drinking. My FIL is blind in one eye and partially blind in the other. He is nearly crippled walking with a severe limp. He's on a fixed income for disability.

We've been keeping him at our place, but had been looking for an efficiency apartment close to us when we made the decision to bring him to town and help him get off the sauce. We found one a few blocks away at a small apartment complex that wasn't ready yet, but it seemed like it was going to work out.

Tweet and I went to look at it and decided to put an application in before we went to pick up the FIL and move him to town. When we visited the place on December 17, the property manager told us both that if something doesn't work out with this move, we can get our deposit back, but their application fees of $25 are non-refundable. Okay, fine. Fair enough. They have to pay for the credit report, etc...

We are fronting the money and my FIL will pay us back when he get his next SS check. We were okay with this since he has given us power of attorney to handle his affairs. So we filled out the application and paid the app fee. Then a few days later, we took the deposit of $250 money order in along with my FIL to show him the place. The apartment still wasn't ready yet, but that was okay because we were still waiting on some paperwork for income verification, etc.. No lease paperwork was discussed or ready at that time. This was a week ago, Thursday, Dec 22.

Over this past weekend, Tweety was working out the budget for her dad, and we came to the conclusion that this apartment wasn't going to be affordable for him since he is on such a low fixed income. We contacted the apartment manager on the 29th and explained that this was not going to work, and she completely reversed her position, outright stating that she didn't even make the statement to Tweety and I both sitting at her desk on the 17th.

We explained to her that if Tweet's dad had rented the place, he might not have been able to fulfill the term of the lease because of his low budget. Additionally, had he rented it, the deposit would have been paid back if there was no damage, etc...

This is not 'good faith' money it was a damage deposit. I've rented before. Additionally, there was never any contract signed, there was no lease, and when we gave her the money order, the apartment wasn't even ready. I even offered to accept $200 back instead of the $250 after she cried about the apartment not being on the market -- even though it wasn't ready and in a move-in condition. I was trying to be fair.

No matter, she claims that it's policy. Now a disabled, blind and crippled person is out the $250.

Well, my policy is to take people to court for such things, so we are drafting a demand letter today, and will be filing in Small Claims Court if we do not receive the deposit back by the deadline in the letter. I will also be asking the court for court costs, and lost wages for the time it takes to handle this matter. The filing will be for significantly more than $250.

Since this is primarily a lower-income apartment community, I can only imagine that they have screwed over many other people who didn't have the knowledge or the wherewithal to fight back.

Those who can do something about these kinds of situations are obligated to do so.

Rant off.
Link Posted: 12/30/2005 9:18:46 AM EDT
Yeah, you will have to file in small claims. They may or may not back down rather than go to court.

Absolutely, they do this kind of thing as most times people just let them keep the cash. I have had plenty of landlords try to screw me over for my sec deposit. I always got it back but did actually have to go to court once.
Link Posted: 12/30/2005 9:19:21 AM EDT
Take her to the cleaners
Link Posted: 12/30/2005 9:22:13 AM EDT
It just sucks that you have to do this stuff.

Why can't people just be forthright and honest?

I am not so much pissed about the money as I am the blatant dishonesty.
Link Posted: 12/30/2005 9:22:47 AM EDT
Oh yeah, some states allow to get double(or more) for damages in these kinds of cases. You'll have to check that out for your state.
You can also ask for your legal costs.
Doing both might make it very unworthwhile for her to go to court over this.

Good luck.
Link Posted: 12/30/2005 9:23:44 AM EDT

Originally Posted By BenDover:
It just sucks that you have to do this stuff.

Why can't people just be forthright and honest?




Because most people aren't anymore.
Link Posted: 12/30/2005 9:26:29 AM EDT
Yeah, I know.

Did I mention that her dad is a Veteran?

GRRRRRR
Link Posted: 12/30/2005 9:27:02 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/30/2005 9:33:26 AM EDT
SSS

Wont get money back but at least some satisfaction. Hell, I'll even repay the $250 for you if you do this.
Link Posted: 12/30/2005 9:38:14 AM EDT
The whole "Youa needah to showina summa respecta" conversation would be super fun.


SSS is a last resort. I'd hate to make a mess though.
Link Posted: 12/30/2005 9:38:24 AM EDT

Originally Posted By BenDover:

...the property manager told us both that if something doesn't work out with this move, we can get our deposit back, but their application fees of $25 are non-refundable.




Do you have this in writing or is it your word against theirs?

I HATE crooks.
Link Posted: 12/30/2005 9:38:47 AM EDT
I am not sure about the actual events that took place but if she said you could get your deposit back she should have never took it in the first place.

Looking at this from a landlord's point of view, The reason you take a deposit is to hold the place for the intended renter. Thus, if the renter backs out, you still have a deposit for your time your property was unrented. You put a deposit saying you will hold this property for me, and I will rent it. You did not rent it and the landlord turned away other would-be renters in the meantime, all the while losing money while waiting for you to do what you did - back out.

Now there is no question that if the landlord said the deposit was 100 percent refundable, you should get your money back - I am always upfront with my applicants that if they back out they lose the deposit. This is a fair way for both parties IMO.

While it is your responsibility to make sure the funds are there to pay the rent, it is also the landlords responsibility to qualify you for the property to make sure there is enough income to rent ratio. A good number is roughly 3 times the rent monthly.

Bottom line, he should have reviewed the app and saw that your father did not have the finances to pay the rent even before he took a deposit.

Hope you are able to get it back. Most of the time, it costs more to litigate than to just suck it up and move on.
Link Posted: 12/30/2005 9:42:22 AM EDT
Unfortunately, I do not have her statements in writing, but she made the statements to both my wife and I. So, it's both of our word against just hers.


I know, weak... 'I should have yaddie yaddie...'

I mean, I work on million $$ contracts for a living. Who'da thunk that a little measly thing like this would have turned into a big ordeal?

Link Posted: 12/30/2005 9:47:36 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/30/2005 9:50:03 AM EDT by Stormtrooper]

Originally Posted By BenDover:
Unfortunately, I do not have her statements in writing, but she made the statements to both my wife and I. So, it's both of our word against just hers.


I know, weak... 'I should have yaddie yaddie...'

I mean, I work on million $$ contracts for a living. Who'da thunk that a little measly thing like this would have turned into a big ordeal?





Not to flame, but you say that you work on Mil dollar contracts for a living. Did you bother to read the fine print when you signed the release form for the credit check. They will usually put in there that the deposit is non refundable, and when you sign ok to do the credit check, you also just signed your deposit away. If you can get a hold of the original application you might want to do so.

If there is nothing stating the deposit is non-refundable, then you are entitled to a refund. (this is for Maine and your state may vary). Check it out. Find out what the law is in your neck of the woods and once you know the law, you should be able to walk back in there and get your money without having to go to court.

Cheers, and hope you can get this thing settled.
Link Posted: 12/30/2005 10:03:31 AM EDT
I didn't sign off on any of this. Tweet did, it's her dad.

I asked her if she recalled any clause about non-refundability of the deposit, and she couldn't recall any.

However, the statements by the manager claiming that it was would be an implied modification to any agreement. A verbal agreement is legal... just harder to prove.
Link Posted: 12/30/2005 10:53:49 AM EDT
How short is he per month? It sounds like it isn't much per month if you guys originally thought he could pay for it. If it's not much, that $250 could go a long ways towards making-up the difference for several months without having to fight to get it back. You and your wife could make-up the difference after that. You said the apartment was close to your house. In the long run, that will save you and your wife a lot of time and worry. If he doesn't answer the phone, you can easily drive by to check to make sure he's not drinking again. Another reason to help him out is it gives you leverage when dealing with his drinking problem. He'll know then that you could cut him off.z
Link Posted: 12/30/2005 11:15:25 AM EDT
A lot of jackasses are surprised when you show up (or make THEM show up) in small claims court...even more so when they lose.
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