Issues with security deposit and taking over a lease - LONG
I will try to make this as short as possible, but it's a long story so I don't know how short I can make it.
I recently moved out of an apartment that I had been living in, along with two roommates, for 2 years. The three of us rented the apartment as college students. The complex is within 1 mile of a large state University and, although it is not owned by the school, to my knowledge all of the tenants are students. This complex is over 100 years old and is known for being a big "party spot". The apartments are small, in crappy condition, ridiculously overpriced, and management is constantly mistreating and taking advantage of the tenants.
My two roommates and I graduated in December. Although our lease does not end until July, management gave us the option of finding new tenants to "take over our lease". Apparently this is something that they do regularly, although IÂve never heard of it before. So anyways, we were able to find three girls (friends of a friend) who wanted to take over our lease. The girls came to look at the apartment on two separate occasions prior to signing the lease and loved the place. We had painted the walls in the living room, kitchen, and 2 bedrooms (colors) when we first moved in over two years ago, and one of our primary concerns was finding new tenants who would accept the paint as is (and thus, would take responsibility for re-painting at the end of the lease, as we did not have time to re-paint before moving out). We explained the paint situation to the girls upfront, and they said that they had no problem with the paint. After they signed the lease, all we had to do was stop into the office and sign ourselves off the lease and that was it. The process literally took two minutes. The document that we signed stated that we were off the lease as of December 31, and the new tenants were on the lease as of January 1.
When the three of us first signed a lease in 2006, we paid a $2,800 security deposit (we have been receiving interest on the deposit in the form of a credit towards our rent yearly). Since we signed our lease over to new tenants, management told us that the new tenants were responsible for paying us the security deposit (and thus, they would receive OUR deposit when they vacate at the end of the lease). This seemed strange to me, but management assured us that this was their standard procedure. Well, we have been in contact with these girls about the security deposit, and turns out that they are suddenly unhappy with the condition of the apartment. The apartment was never inspected by management prior to us vacating Â Management never brought it up (even though they knew we were leaving) and the new girls never asked about it. We left the apartment in good condition, and the thought of having it inspected honestly never crossed my mind.
After moving in, the girls contacted management and asked that they inspect the apartment for damages, which they did. They ended up citing the downstairs carpet for replacement (it is stained, but I think a good cleaning would have done wonders) and repainting of the walls ($950!) in addition to a few other minor things. They also cited $120 for removal of the bar that we left the girls for free, specifically because they requested it and we had no longer had any use for it. The girls are now pretending that they had no idea about the paint on the walls and that we had dumped the bar, which is not true. IÂve been arguing back and forth with the girls and with management. The girls want us to pay for all the charges (which, by the way, are not being charged now and will only be charged at the end of the lease if the apartment is in the same condition). IÂve tried to explain to management that the girls knew about the walls and accepted them as is and also about the bar, but their attitude is that they donÂt want to get involved and IÂm being told that there is "nothing they can do".
At this point, my roommates and I are sick of arguing and we desperately need as much of our security deposit as possible (neither of us have found jobs yet, so weÂll all broke!). So, we decided that we might as well cut our losses and pay the charges. We told the new girls that we would re-paint the walls ourselves before their lease ends if they do not deduct the $950 from our deposit, and they agreed. That leaves about $1,500 of the deposit remaining, and I would be more than happy to get our money and forget about this whole messÂHowever, now the one girl whose contact info I have seems to be ignoring me. I have sent her messages online, called her, and texted her to make arrangements to have the remaining deposit mailed to us Â itÂs been 5 days and I have not heard back from her. IÂm debating whether or not to call management on Monday, but IÂm hesitant since they havenÂt been helpful at all.
I am frustrated and angry. I did some digging online and found some CT laws regarding security deposits:
(2) Upon termination of a tenancy, any tenant may notify his landlord in writing of such tenantÂs forwarding address. Within thirty days after termination of a tenancy, each landlord other than a rent receiver shall deliver to the tenant or former tenant at such forwarding address either (A) the full amount of the security deposit paid by such tenant plus accrued interest as provided in subsection (i) of this section, or (B) the balance of the security deposit paid by such tenant plus accrued interest as provided in subsection (i) of this section after deduction for any damages suffered by such landlord by reason of such tenantÂs failure to comply with such tenantÂs obligations, together with a written statement itemizing the nature and amount of such damages. Any such landlord who violates any provision of this subsection shall be liable for twice the amount or value of any security deposit paid by such tenant, except that, if the violation is the failure to deliver the accrued interest, such landlord shall only be liable for twice the amount of such accrued interest.
What exactly does this mean? Does this mean that it is managementÂs responsibility (not the new tenants) to pay us our security deposit? ItÂs been almost 30 days since we moved out Â does this mean that we might have legal recourse against management if we still donÂt receive our deposit after the 30 day mark? I would appreciate it VERY much if someone could help me interpret this, and give me some advice for handling this situation.