small claims

kellywaSeptember 7, 2006

well it looks like i will be having to go to small claims court to get back my security deposit. long story short: had lease through end of july. moved out end of may because we bought a house (in october but did not want to break lease) and moved in. landlord pressured us to get all our stuff out early. we were paying rent through end of july. she comes in 6/2 without notifying us and has yard work done. no walk through. says she is trying to re-rent house. on 6/30 she puts house up for sale (she is a realtor). we find out on 7/13. i call her and she is incredibly rude and indignant. our lease clearly states she can only sell house with a separate signed agreement. she berates me on the phone. turn keys in august 1 as required. on 8/15 she sends note back only returning key deposit of $50.00. states we left house in poor condition (totally not true). also has hired a lawn service to clean up yard. the lease stated for us to take care of yard. we were doing this until she hired someone.

she was in house numerous times never notifying us.

so we are going to sue for 2 months rent (june and july) and return of security deposit. we had a $500 non-refundable cleaning deposit which was of course held.

i have checked the oregon landlord tenant laws and it states she is not to enter house without 24 hours notice or have anyone on the premises. i realize we were no longer in the house but she still had no right to enter the premises. she also took sensitive work packages and moved into house without notifying us. she took down the for rent sign and put up a for sale sign. she had the nerve to tell me that there are other ways to rent a house besides a sign!! who is going to rent a house that is for sale.

also after august 1 she has taken for sale sign down and now put up for rent sign again.

i realize this is only a $500 security deposit but given several other lies we caught her in (not having garage for rent when it clearly stated it was for rent when we signed the original lease and stating the basement was dry when she knew it leaked)we now feel this is a matter of principle.

if she had just returned even a part of our deposit we would have just written it off but now i have looked into landlord tenant laws and know we have been completely taken. she will need to provide receipts etc to prove her case. she went so far as to say we killed two rhododendrons and flowers. which is a flat out lie.

has anyone been to small claims court and can i expect any justice??

any help or suggestions for going to small claims court???

thanks in advance.

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You really can get justice from small claims court. Unfortunately it is also known as "liars court" and the judge knows that. Present your side calmly and don't get upset or argue. The judge knows this is a new experience for most people and usually will help you through the rough spots. The fact that you are there gives credence to your complaint. Most people just let it drop. Let us know how you come out.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2006 at 8:02PM
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Small claims court! Been there to many times and have never lost! Document everythig. Person most prepared will win most times.

I would not ask for reimbursement of rent. You signed a lease and need to fullfill it. Judge probably will not award you anything for having her intrude a vacant home. Really what harm was she doing? I would ask for the lawn care and security deposit back. In my state we don't rent much out with signs. Typically its the paper. There are also many homes both for rent and sale. Whatever happens first the owner takes.

Asking for to much may give the judge a negative impression.

What I belive happened is you purchased a home through another realtor. Your landlord was upset you didn't use her and this is her way of paying you back. Its not right at all.

I would just ask for the deposit and during the hearing mention to the judge about your impression of her not trying to re rent the property.

If you are going to ask for rent go all the way back to October/November.

Has the home been filled or sold yet? If its been rented you could point out how her efforts may have increased after the money stopped coming in. If its still vacant she could show that she has been trying to fill the home and even went so far as attempt to sell it.

Best of Luck!

Please reply with the outcome, or updates!

I love law.... but whats fair and leagle are not the same.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2006 at 2:42PM
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thanks for responses. i definitely think she is mad because we did not use her as a realtor. but since she lied to us about the garage there was no way we were going to have any sort of complex negotiations going on with her given her lack of honesty.
also i just saw on craigslist she has lowered the price again from originally $430k to 350k. i don't understand she still has the for rent sign up!! she missed the market here and is not happy. i will keep you posted.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2006 at 12:50PM
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