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Irritated...

Posted by geist (My Page) on
Sat, Jul 24, 04 at 7:53

I just moved into a new studio apartment. It's a great find, 16-foot ceilings and wood floors for $375 a month...

However, upon moving in [with my mother's help] we had a lot of cleaning to do. There was cobwebs and the toilet, STILL, doesn't work and the guy is on vacation. I was cleaning the kitchen yesterday and found dogfood behind the refrigerator...

Im very irritated, what is a security deposit for? it doesnt look like they took one step in here before they sold it to me, and i don't think it is right for them not to clean it before hand - am i wrong?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Irritated...

Nope. I had something similar happen to me. I took pictures that were date-stamped, then called the landlord who sent a cleaning person over. I kept the pictures for when I moved out, just in case she tried to keep my cleaning deposit.


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RE: Irritated...

"what is a security deposit for"

It's so the landlord doesn't lose money when the tenant skips out on the lease. It has NOTHING to do with cleaning.

" It's a great find, 16-foot ceilings and wood floors for $375 a month..." ... and landlords who hyave "great finds" know that thery can always find renters willing to do a bit of cleaning because of the greatness of the place.

" the toilet, STILL, doesn't work" .,... This can be considered an emergency - if the landlord is out of town, your state's laws undoubtedly will let you call a plumber and send the landlord the bill.


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RE: Irritated...

Given that i have now worked maintenance for over 35 yrs and more to the point more than 20 years in apartment communities i think i can answer your question.
First of all, it is the landlords responsibility to clean and repair the apartment prior to showing it for rental, but we all know that in the real world many things are left undone and some landlords are more attentive to detail than others.
It is also the responsiblity of the tenant to inspect the apartment prior to acceptance of the lease and note any problems he/she sees at that time. Usually the landlords will give you a move in inspection sheet which you must fill out and return to the office. Do not overlook that form, and certainly do not just pencil whip it away. Take the time to carefully inspect and note any problems. If you later have to go to housing court they judge will ask to see that inspection report. If you are complaining that something pre-existed when you moved in, it better be on the report, otherwise the court will assume you accepted things in good order and the matter you are complaining about is a new problem. In that case, you could be held liable for the cost of repair. Once you complete the inspection report, make a copy of it and keep it with your lease records. That way you could show you reported the problem.When you report the problem, and later if you happen to submit a workorder for a new problem, the landlord is required to address the problem in a timely manner. The term "timely" is an arbitrary point. What may seem timely to the landlord may seem way tooo long to you.
My personal rule in maintence is to assign a priority to all work orders. If your frigde isnt working that is potentially a health hazard to you and your family, thus it gets a top priority. The same goes for non flushing toilets, backed up drain lines, Water leaks, Electrical shorts, and defective door or window locks.
On the other hand, a sticky cabinet door or a slight blemish in the wall might get a low priority, not meaning to say it won't get done, but i hope everyone will understand if i tell them i didnt get a chance to fix their window screen today because i was fixing toilets and refrigerators.
Now as far as the deposit goes. The deposit is established to cover unpaid rent or property damages when you move out.
Whenever you move out of an apartment you should ask to be present when they make the final inspection. When inspecting we have to make on the spot determinations of what is "fair wear and tear" as opposed to what is "abuse." While finger prints and the occasional pencil or crayon mark on a wall is fair wear and tear, a childs room that is covered in crayola and magic marker graffitti is definitely not fair wear and tear. I realize that it is in the nature of children to write on a wall, but through proper parental supervision i would assume that problem would be corrected before it got out of hand. Case in point, i had one apartment that had crayola on the ceiling, (the four year old was sitting on daddies shoulders while writing on the ceiling) Daddy may have thought that action cute but i didnt see the humor in it. If you happen to have a broken window or kicked in door you must report the incident to the police and get a copy of the incident report, otherwise we assume you know who did it and it is your responsibility to pay for the repair and recover your loss from the person who did it. Normally if the carpets appear to have been vacuumed we assume the tenant made a best effort and let it pass as fair wear and tear, but, if the carpets are cut, stained with nail polish, paint and such, you will no doubt be held liable for that problem.
As far as the deposit goes, in most cases it wont even start to pay the actual cost of parts and labor to prep an apartment, but most is assumed as fair wear and tear.
When you move into an apartment make sure you get a phone number of how to reach the landlord or his assigned maintenace representative. He is required to provide you an alternative in the event he is out of town.
DO NOT CALL AN OUTSIDE CONTRACTOR WITHOUT THE EXPRESSED WRITTEN PERMISSION OF THE LANDLORD. Tenants are not permitted to enter into contracts on behalf of landlords and if you do so you may end up paying the bill.
In most apartment communities the maintenance staff are highly trained professionals that take great pride in what they do. I personally am certified in 9 different trades representing almost 17 years of night school and at 57 years old i find i am once again enrolled in a night school class. I like to get to know the tenants, and try to have a close working relationship with them. In fact, i once told an owner, you may own this property but as far as maintenance and upkeep, this is my property until such time as i am relieved of the responsibility, and i like to maintain a property as if it were my own.
There are some things that tenants can do that will make there stay a better experience as well. First, control your children and pets. When putting up pictures use small nails as opposed to sticky hangers. Nails are easy to remove and a tiny bit of spackling will fill the hole. When sticky hangers are removed, they tend to tear the surfacr of the sheetrock away or leave a gooie mess on the wall. Do not dive nails screws or other hardware into the woodwork unless you clear it with your maintenace guys first. If you have something heavy to hang like a mirror, ask the maintenance guys to help your find a stud and select a proper hanger. Do not disable smoke detectors or change door locks. Above all, do not put a keyed lock on an interior door, That is a gross violation of the fire code.
Finallly, read your lease contract thoroughly before you sign it. Many contracts have silly little rules and clauses that cause a lot of disagreements later. In many cases, even if a contract clause is contrary to local ordinances, if you signed the contract you agree to the clause and that constitutes an agreed exception, which then becomes a real problem in the courts.
While a rent strike is normally not acceptable in court, there is a way you can withold your rent and bring pressure upon the landlord. If you have a maintenance issue, first, notify the landlord in writing. This can be by a letter or the prefereed method is to fill out the landlords work order request form and retain a copy. Allow a reasonable time for the landlord to respond, but if it appears they are just blowing you off, go to the houseing court and file a complaint, then pay your normal rent to the court to be held in escrow until the problem is resolved or you get a court hearing. As long as your rent was posted with the court on time, the landlord cannot file eviction for non-payment of rent. Many people are reluctant to use that method for fear the landlord would later find another reason to evict, but the laws provide the tenant protection for that as well. If you could show they are attempting to evict or take any action in retaliation the action is stopped and the landlord could be fined.
Go to your local housing court and ask them. Most courts have a pamplet of tenants rights, duties and obligations in your jurisdiction. The pamplet will define what actions to take if the landlord defaults on services.


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RE: Irritated...

"it is the landlords responsibility to clean and repair the apartment prior to showing it for rental"

Under what laws? Most do this, but they aren't required to in this state.

DEfinitely find out what YOUR state laws are and foillow htem. Most tenants who took me to court lost, because they didn't know their responsibilities and I knew the law.


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RE: Irritated...

For those who live in the State of California, the law regarding "security deposits" is contained in California Civil Code Section 1950.5, which is (and I shall copy and paste from the online Code):

1950.5. (a) This section applies to security for a rental agreement for residential property that is used as the dwelling of the tenant.

(b) As used in this section, "security" means any payment, fee, deposit or charge, including, but not limited to, any payment, fee, deposit, or charge, except as provided in Section 1950.6, that is imposed at the beginning of the tenancy to be used to reimburse the landlord for costs associated with processing a new tenant or that is imposed as an advance payment of rent, used or to be used for any purpose, including, but not limited to, any of the following:

(1) The compensation of a landlord for a tenant's default in the payment of rent.

(2) The repair of damages to the premises, exclusive of ordinary wear and tear, caused by the tenant or by a guest or licensee of the tenant.

(3) The cleaning of the premises upon termination of the tenancy necessary to return the unit to the same level of cleanliness it was in at the inception of the tenancy. The amendments to this paragraph enacted by the act adding this sentence shall apply only to tenancies for which the tenant's right to occupy begins after January 1, 2003.

(4) To remedy future defaults by the tenant in any obligation under the rental agreement to restore, replace, or return personal property or appurtenances, exclusive of ordinary wear and tear, if the security deposit is authorized to be applied thereto by the rental agreement.

(c) A landlord may not demand or receive security, however denominated, in an amount or value in excess of an amount equal to two months' rent, in the case of unfurnished residential property, and an amount equal to three months' rent, in the case of furnished residential property, in addition to any rent for the first month
paid on or before initial occupancy.

This subdivision does not prohibit an advance payment of not less than six months' rent if the term of the lease is six months or longer.

This subdivision does not preclude a landlord and a tenant from entering into a mutual agreement for the landlord, at the request of the tenant and for a specified fee or charge, to make structural, decorative, furnishing, or other similar alterations, if the alterations are other than cleaning or repairing for which the landlord may charge the previous tenant as provided by subdivision
(e).

(d) Any security shall be held by the landlord for the tenant who is party to the lease or agreement. The claim of a tenant to the security shall be prior to the claim of any creditor of the landlord.

(e) The landlord may claim of the security only those amounts as are reasonably necessary for the purposes specified in subdivision (b). The landlord may not assert a claim against the tenant or the security for damages to the premises or any defective conditions that preexisted the tenancy, for ordinary wear and tear or the effects
thereof, whether the wear and tear preexisted the tenancy or occurred during the tenancy, or for the cumulative effects of ordinary wear and tear occurring during any one or more tenancies.

(f) (1) Within a reasonable time after notification of either party's intention to terminate the tenancy, or before the end of the lease term, the landlord shall notify the tenant in writing of his or her option to request an initial inspection and of his or her right to be present at the inspection. The requirements of this
subdivision do not apply when the tenancy is terminated pursuant to subdivision (2), (3), or (4) of Section 1161 of the Code of Civil Procedure. At a reasonable time, but no earlier than two weeks before the termination or the end of lease date, the landlord, or an agent of the landlord, shall, upon the request of the tenant, make an
initial inspection of the premises prior to any final inspection the landlord makes after the tenant has vacated the premises. The purpose of the initial inspection shall be to allow the tenant an opportunity to remedy identified deficiencies, in a manner consistent with the rights and obligations of the parties under the rental agreement, in order to avoid deductions from the security. If a tenant chooses not to request an initial inspection, the duties of
the landlord under this subdivision are discharged. If an inspection is requested, the parties shall attempt to schedule the inspection at a mutually acceptable date and time. The landlord shall give at least 48 hours' prior written notice of the date and time of the inspection if either a mutual time is agreed upon, or if a mutually
agreed time cannot be scheduled but the tenant still wishes an inspection. The tenant and landlord may agree to forgo the 48-hour prior written notice by both signing a written waiver. The landlord shall proceed with the inspection whether the tenant is present or not, unless the tenant previously withdrew his or her request for the
inspection.

(2) Based on the inspection, the landlord shall give the tenant an itemized statement specifying repairs or cleaning that are proposed to be the basis of any deductions from the security the landlord intends to make pursuant to paragraphs (1) to (4), inclusive of subdivision (b). This statement shall also include the texts of subdivision (d) and paragraphs (1) to (4), inclusive, of subdivision (b). The statement shall be given to the tenant, if the tenant is present for the inspection, or shall be left inside the premises.

(3) The tenant shall have the opportunity during the period following the initial inspection until termination of the tenancy to remedy identified deficiencies, in a manner consistent with the rights and obligations of the parties under the rental agreement, in order to avoid deductions from the security.

(4) Nothing in this subdivision shall prevent a landlord from using the security for deductions itemized in the statement provided for in paragraph (2) that were not cured by the tenant so long as the deductions are for damages authorized by this section.

(5) Nothing in this subdivision shall prevent a landlord from using the security for any purpose specified in paragraphs (1) to (4), inclusive, of subdivision (b) that occurs between completion of the initial inspection and termination of the tenancy or was not identified during the initial inspection due to the presence of a
tenant's possessions.

(g) (1) No later than 21 calendar days after the tenant has vacated the premises, but not earlier than the time that either the landlord or the tenant provides a notice to terminate the tenancy under Section 1946 or 1946.1, Section 1161 of the Code of Civil Procedure, or not earlier than 60 calendar days prior to the expiration of a fixed-term lease, the landlord shall furnish the tenant, by personal delivery or by first-class mail, postage prepaid, a copy of an itemized statement indicating the basis for, and the amount of, any security received and the disposition of the security and shall return any remaining portion of the security to the tenant.

(2) Along with the itemized statement, the landlord shall also include copies of documents showing charges incurred and deducted by the landlord to repair or clean the premises, as follows:

(A) If the landlord or landlord's employee did the work, the itemized statement shall reasonably describe the work performed. The itemized statement shall include the time spent and the reasonable hourly rate charged.

(B) If the landlord or landlord's employee did not do the work, the landlord shall provide the tenant a copy of the bill, invoice, or receipt supplied by the person or entity performing the work. The itemized statement shall provide the tenant with the name, address, and telephone number of the person or entity, if the bill, invoice,
or receipt does not include that information.

(C) If a deduction is made for materials or supplies, the landlord shall provide a copy of the bill, invoice, or receipt. If a particular material or supply item is purchased by the landlord on an ongoing basis, the landlord may document the cost of the item by providing a copy of a bill, invoice, receipt, vendor price list, or
other vendor document that reasonably documents the cost of the item used in the repair or cleaning of the unit.

(3) If a repair to be done by the landlord or the landlord's employee cannot reasonably be completed within 21 calendar days after the tenant has vacated the premises, or if the documents from a person or entity providing services, materials, or supplies are not in the landlord's possession within 21 calendar days after the tenant has vacated the premises, the landlord may deduct the amount of a good faith estimate of the charges that will be incurred and provide that estimate with the itemized statement. If the reason for the estimate is because the documents from a person or entity providing
services, materials, or supplies are not in the landlord's
possession, the itemized statement shall include the name, address, and telephone number of the person or entity. Within 14 calendar days of completing the repair or receiving the documentation, the landlord shall complete the requirements in paragraphs (1) and (2) in the manner specified.

(4) The landlord need not comply with paragraph (2) or (3) if either of the following apply:

(A) The deductions for repairs and cleaning together do not exceed one hundred twenty-five dollars ($125).

(B) The tenant waived the rights specified in paragraphs (2) and (3). The waiver shall only be effective if it is signed by the tenant at the same time or after a notice to terminate a tenancy under Section 1946 or 1946.1 has been given, a notice under Section
1161 of the Code of Civil Procedure has been given, or no earlier than 60 calendar days prior to the expiration of a fixed-term lease. The waiver shall substantially include the text of paragraph (2).

(5) Notwithstanding paragraph (4), the landlord shall comply with paragraphs (2) and (3) when a tenant makes a request for documentation within 14 calendar days after receiving the itemized statement specified in paragraph (1). The landlord shall comply within 14 calendar days after receiving the request from the tenant.

(6) Any mailings to the tenant pursuant to this subdivision shall be sent to the address provided by the tenant. If the tenant does not provide an address, mailings pursuant to this subdivision shall be sent to the unit that has been vacated.

(h) Upon termination of the landlord's interest in the premises, whether by sale, assignment, death, appointment of receiver or otherwise, the landlord or the landlord's agent shall, within a reasonable time, do one of the following acts, either of which shall relieve the landlord of further liability with respect to the security held:

(1) Transfer the portion of the security remaining after any lawful deductions made under subdivision (e) to the landlord's successor in interest. The landlord shall thereafter notify the tenant by personal delivery or by first-class mail, postage prepaid, of the transfer, of any claims made against the security, of the amount of the security deposited, and of the names of the successors in interest, their address, and their telephone number. If the notice to the tenant is made by personal delivery, the tenant shall acknowledge receipt of the notice and sign his or her name on the landlord's copy of the notice.

(2) Return the portion of the security remaining after any lawful deductions made under subdivision (e) to the tenant, together with an accounting as provided in subdivision (g).

(i) Prior to the voluntary transfer of a landlord's interest in the premises, the landlord shall deliver to the landlord's successor in interest a written statement indicating the following:

(1) The security remaining after any lawful deductions are made.

(2) An itemization of any lawful deductions from any security received.

(3) His or her election under paragraph (1) or (2) of subdivision (h).

This subdivision does not affect the validity of title to the real property transferred in violation of this subdivision.

(j) In the event of noncompliance with subdivision (h), the landlord's successors in interest shall be jointly and severally liable with the landlord for repayment of the security, or that portion thereof to which the tenant is entitled, when and as provided in subdivisions (e) and (g). A successor in interest of a landlord may not require the tenant to post any security to replace that amount not transferred to the tenant or successors in interest as provided in subdivision (h), unless and until the successor in interest first makes restitution of the initial security as provided in paragraph (2) of subdivision (h) or provides the tenant with an accounting as provided in subdivision (g).

This subdivision does not preclude a successor in interest from recovering from the tenant compensatory damages that are in excess of the security received from the landlord previously paid by the tenant to the landlord.

Notwithstanding this subdivision, if, upon inquiry and reasonable investigation, a landlord's successor in interest has a good faith belief that the lawfully remaining security deposit is transferred to him or her or returned to the tenant pursuant to subdivision (h), he or she is not liable for damages as provided in subdivision (l), or any security not transferred pursuant to subdivision (h).

(k) Upon receipt of any portion of the security under paragraph (1) of subdivision (h), the landlord's successors in interest shall have all of the rights and obligations of a landlord holding the security with respect to the security.

(l) The bad faith claim or retention by a landlord or the landlord's successors in interest of the security or any portion thereof in violation of this section, or the bad faith demand of replacement security in violation of subdivision (j), may subject the landlord or the landlord's successors in interest to statutory damages of up to twice the amount of the security, in addition to actual damages. The court may award damages for bad faith whenever the facts warrant such an award, regardless of whether the injured party has specifically requested relief. In any action under this section, the landlord or the landlord's successors in interest shall have the burden of proof as to the reasonableness of the amounts claimed or the authority pursuant to this section to demand additional security deposits.

(m) No lease or rental agreement may contain any provision characterizing any security as "nonrefundable."

(n) Any action under this section may be maintained in small claims court if the damages claimed, whether actual or statutory or both, are within the jurisdictional amount allowed by Section 116.220 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

(o) Proof of the existence of and the amount of a security deposit may be established by any credible evidence, including, but not limited to, a canceled check, a receipt, a lease indicating the requirement of a deposit as well as the amount, prior consistent statements or actions of the landlord or tenant, or a statement under penalty of perjury that satisfies the credibility requirements set forth in Section 780 of the Evidence Code.

(p) The amendments to this section made during the 1985 portion of the 1985-86 Regular Session of the Legislature that are set forth in subdivision (e) are declaratory of existing law.

(q) The amendments to this section made during the 2003 portion of the 2003-04 Regular Session of the Legislature that are set forth in paragraph (1) of subdivision (f) are declaratory of existing law.


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RE: Irritated...

I rented this apartment and the carpets were not replaced. There were stains on them and not in "new" condition. They also didn't go right up to the walls and there are parts of the carpet that have what feels like stones underneath.

I marked this on the move-in inspection sheet but feel that they'll charge me for any additional stains that may happen. But the carpet was not in good condition when I moved in and it should be replaced when I move. Will I be responsible for the carpeting when I move out should there be any extra stains on it? Or must I clean it thoroughly even though they gave it to me stained and old.


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RE: Irritated...

Marie -
If it was stained and old ... photograph the condition NOW and then right before you move out.

You are not responsible for "normal wear and tear", just don't have any disasters on the carpet.


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