Tenant Rights!!

maymay23September 22, 2007

I recently just finished college, am a single mother of a 6 year old and was looking forward to moving into a 2 bedroom duplex so my little one could have his own room. The owner is from out of town but there is an onsite manager on the premise. I looked at the duplex in mid July but it was still in the process of being cleaned. I gave my one month notice to my current manager and would be able to move out to the new unit on September 1, 2007. According to the new landlord/owner of the duplex I needed to give my full deposit before moving in so that she was assured I was in good faith. I did and signed the rental agreement early as well. Finally, myself and the landlord me a week prior to me moving in to continue with the move in/ move out process but upon looking over the duplex there were still many repairs that needed to be done. The curtains were old and uncleaned, there was a space on the tile behind the toilet in the bathroom, holes and wires in the walls that were not patched up right. She didn't want to proceed with the walk in/out stating that she will make a list of things needed to be fixed, give it to her maintenance guy and have the unit ready for move in by the first of Sept. On August 28, still, nothing was touched, called her and she informed me that things will be fixed once I moved in because it was too hot for the maintenance guy to do work. Finally, I was too uncomfortable moving into a unit with so many damages still needing to be fixed, I called and spoke to her the Friday before move in and she said that I could wait for her to fix it once I move in or have my deposit back so I opted to have my deposit back. Later on she emails me and tells me she has spoken to her lawyer and that she has rights to my $700 deposit I have given her even though I never moved in...I am stuck in a rut and am wondering if I take her to small claims court, what are my chances of winning??? Help!!


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What does the rental agreement say? If it says that you accept the unit "in its as is condition", then you accepted as it was when you saw it, warts and all. And yes, technically a landlord would have the right to keep the Deposit.

However, landlords have responsibilities as well. Her excuse that it was too hot to work was about as lame as they come. By law (in most states anyway, probably yours too) she has to have the place in habitable condition. Drapes that need to be cleaned doesn't necessarily fall under that category, but wires sticking out of walls and holes in walls not repaired is nothing short of sloppy and negligent (wiring) and I would think a judge would frown on that.

Did you get anything in writing about what would or would not be done prior to your move in???

    Bookmark   September 23, 2007 at 12:15PM
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On the rental agreement it states that a walk through will be done prior to moving in, except that it was never done because there were too many things that needed to be done still. The list was made by the landlord but handed over to the onsite manager. I never got a copy. I have pictures. I have a date with small claims and wondering what my chances are of getting my fulld deposit back. She had offered me my full deposit when I first explained to her that I was uncomfortable moving into the unit under thos circumstances.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2007 at 6:17PM
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Just my .02, but if she had excuses for fixing the place when it was vacant, she would probably find more excuses once you were in there. I would think if you have photos of holes in walls, exposed wires, general visible dirt etc. and this woman stands there and says it was too hot to repair/clean that, the judge will not think too highly of her. Good luck with everything!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2007 at 5:54AM
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