That’s Not the Way to Do Business

{Begin Rant}

I got my security deposit back from my former residence and there were $198.00 in charges. And that is AFTER I paid $127.00 to get the damned mini blinds cleaned. Let me outline these bullshit charges for you:

Cleaning: N/A (You bet your sweet ass there isn’t any charge because I cleaned that place immaculately!)

Painting: $60 for “touch up” (Touch up what? If it’s the bathroom that’s the problem then that’s the malfunctioning of the blasted “fan” that was installed which subsequently made my walls GRAY. And which I attempted to clean for hours.)

Carpet Cleaning: $55 (I was never informed that this needed to be done. It’s probably because I have cats, those cat-hating bastards. It smelled like cat pee in one corner when I moved in there and they are charging me?! I’m pretty sure they didn’t replace the padding when they replaced the actual carpet, hence the lingering odor.)

Repairs: $33 for “patching nail holes” (I patched every friggen nail hole in that place so they are LYING. I left ONE screw in and told him about it, too. I was worried I would pull out a chunk of the wall. I spent so much time patching holes I cannot fathom what they are talking about.)

Lock Change Fee (Per Lease): $50 (What crap to charge tenants to change the locks! They write in these outrageous fees like the mini blind cleaning so they can ream you. Why do they have to change the keys every time? Other buildings don’t do that.)

So out of a $525 deposit I received $327 back. To add insult to injury, they gave me a dirty set of blinds instead of new blinds and the muck on them took two cleanings. It appeared to have marbling so I thought nothing of it but it turned out that marbling was actually grease. I asked to be credited for one of the double charges on the mini blinds cleaning because of this error. Did he honor my request? No! Did he show me any fairness? No! Can you tell I am totally peeved? Yes!

I know it is just money and I should just let it go but what gets me is the unfairness of it. I pride myself on being a fair person. He had plenty of time to let me know he was going to be looking for certain things or that they charge for carpet cleaning or painting. I could have done those repairs myself. And you know what? He probably would have found other things to charge me for in that case. This is a big business apartment managing company so they don’t have any personal connection. I’m just a unit number. I’m not a person who worked her ass off to clean that place top to bottom hoping to get my entire deposit back. Who paid her rent on time every month. Who was a model tenant. They don’t give a shit about fairness. They just care about the dollar.

You know what this has taught me? To not be the kind of Apartment Manager who does crap like this. It’s bullshit. That Apartment Manager should have walked through the place with me and given me the opportunity to fix things he thought weren’t up to snuff instead of telling me to leave the keys and he’d get the check to me.

Fucking bullshit.

{End Rant}

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54 thoughts on “That’s Not the Way to Do Business

  1. That does suck. Your tenants are going to get a much better deal when they move out now. Or, if you are having a bad day, you can take it out on them when you do their inspection. I guess it’s whatever way the wind blows…

  2. Evil! I’m sure my landlord will charge me for the paint peeling on my walls and all other ‘not my fault’ stuff when I move out. It’s ridiculous.

  3. Oh it is always that way here….we just assume that we are going to get nailed for carpets, painting and spackle. Girl, we still haven’t received back our freaking 4200 dollar deposit from the last place and are going to small claims court now, so yeah…totally get landlord frustration!

  4. You know, that might be worth rereading your contract and checking into state laws. I know that in our two appt situations the rules were a bit different in that carpet had to be replaced every certain amount of years, walls repainted after every tenant, and it was the apartment complex’s liability and couldn’t be charged to the tenant. And that was in two different states. You might be able to toss some of this back into their face and get more back.

  5. Crappity crap! I know it’s only money too, but it’s still crap being screwed over. Don’t you know any legal bods who could take a peek at the contract or is it too late now?

  6. Have you checked in on “renter’s rights” in Seattle? I know in Chicago, there is an organization that combats bullshit like this. I’m pretty sure here, at least, landlords cannot charge tenants for regular maintenance between tenants (or something like that – it’s been a while since I’ve rented). In any case, it’s definitely worth seeing if there is a non-profit group in Seattle to review those charges. You may deserve more money back than you think. Also, if you haven’t done so already, do not deposit that $327 check until you look further into this issue. In some places, that may be cause for the landlord to state you “agree” with payment in whole.

  7. That stinks.
    My last place–I had a little nailpolish remover accident on a spot in the bedroom floor. They told me that had to rip out the whole bedroom floor and replace it and they charged me for it. I just let it go, it was easier than fighting. But I should have fought, and so should you!

  8. You should check the local laws as someone else said. In some cities, if you’ve lived in an apartment for more than x years, the landlord has to replace it and cannot charge you. Same goes for painting the walls if they are simply dirty from years of “yellowing.”

    On the charges for holes, you can protect yourself against this type of behavior by photographing the place and doing a final walk-through with the landlord. Be sure to do it with a witness. That way they can’t pull any shenanigans.

    Sorry to hear about your situation. There are definitely some sketchy landlords out there. Be careful – be informed – and protect yourself.

  9. The renter’s rights in San Jose are pretty good.. they won’t charge you for paint and all that depending on how long you’ve lived in the place. My last apartment I was in for about eight years and they just charged me a general $120 for cleaning, which was worth it to me instead of cleaning the place myself.

    Sorry your previous landlord was such a jackass.

  10. That cheap SOB. Charging YOU to change the locks? That’s f’n BS.

    I am so mad for you after reading this. This is one reason I HATE renting. (Most) People are out for themselves and really don’t care who they screw in the process.

    Karma baby, Karma. He’ll get his.

  11. I used to manage a 100-unit apartment complex and it was our policy to do a walk-through before and after. Most of the things could be cleaned and fixed, but the kicker was carpeting, which the builders placed right next to a very tiny fireplace that sputtered embers everywhere. I can share with you my managing woes anytime.

  12. Oh no…that is so not right. And probably not legal (although this is not legal advice :)). I would definitely challenge those charges- I’m sure there is a tenants rights group that could help you out! Good luck- and I would be pissed, too!

  13. when we moved out of our mega apartment complex (owned and operated by The Man) I knew that they would jerk us around and try to keep as much as possible, but fortunately we had lived there long enough that they couldn’t charge us for carpets or paints or even cleaning BUT they had this tiny loophole in their effing contract so that even though THEY TOLD US that we *had* to move (due to remodelling), we also had to give them something like 90 days notice in advance of our lease ending or else we’d be in a renewed lease. I argued valiantly because we were told that we HAD to go, we had to option to renew, so why would I turn in a termination letter? But it was in the fine print and they managed to renew our lease (without us even living there) and then charge us crazy fees for *not paying rent* (because we didn’t live there) so they kept every effing penny of our $1,600 deposit and tried to send me a bill for $200 for something stupid… holes in the walls or whatever. I talked to an attorney about it (even though I’d have to fight it alone in small claims court) and he said that they’re sharks… and because they literally own the city, they’re virtually indestructable. That all I could do was go to small claims court and hope that they didn’t show up, so I could win by default. He was also working on bigger cases against the same company for renter’s issues and said that it’s a huge uphill battle. So we lost $1,600 for no reason. HATE!

    Sorry, you didn’t ask to hear the rant. I just had to share! 🙂

  14. Go to rent.com and apartments.com and post every little remark for future renters.

    It’s not like you get the place freakishly clean. Right now I have lino in my bathroom that looks like its been there since 1985. Think I’m wasting my time making sure that crap is in pristine condition. Plus, I’ve been in my place for three years, and they sure as hell needed to replace the carpet before I moved in.

  15. Oh I would be furious too. Is there somewhere you can formally complain about this? Or just let him know that you intend to complain about these ridiculous fees and also let other people know about your issues unless this can be fairly resolved?

  16. Oh that fucking bites Sizzle!

    I had a landlord keep my deposit because I didn’t clean the cat hair of the friggin ceiling fan blades (I had ONE cat and was there a year). I know she spent the deposit on herself when she is required (by law) to deposit it in a seperate business checking account. I would have taken her to court but I moved hours away and didn’t have the energy.

    Go kick some ass girl!

  17. The last complex I lived in (and technically first place that I was fully on my own), I not only didn’t get ANY of my deposit back, but they also billed me out the wazoo. I think it’s a pretty sucky business model and wish some “watchdogs” would do something to regulate it more fairly.

  18. Actually, I believe the landlord or manager is legally SUPPOSED to do a walk through with you 1-2 weeks before your final date of tenancy to tell you if everything is up to par or not so you have a chance to make it right. Although it might just be a California thing.

    Of course that wasn’t the case with me since my landlord was in Hawaii and the new tenant assumed residency 4 days before my actual final move out date. But you know, whatever – I got the deposit back at least.

    fucking mini-blinds…

  19. CRAP!! I agree! This is BS
    Lock changing fees???? How is that your problem???
    Paint?? Isn’t that normal wear and tear???

    Are they serious????

    Whao!

  20. you know i’m all over that shit. i would NOT let it go:

    http://www.atg.wa.gov/uploadedFiles/Home/Safeguarding_Consumers/Landlord-Tenant/Residential/landlord_tenant_booklet.pdf
    or: http://www.wsba.org/media/publications/pamphlets/landlord-tenant.htm

    S…if that stuff was not CLEARLY written in your rental agreement, you do not pay for it. carpet cleaning or painting. also it is required by law (well it was in CA…fairly certain about WA) that the landlord paint the unit after every tenant or at least every 2 years. you don’t have to pay for that.

    http://www.rentlaw.com/normalweartear.htm

  21. I’ve seen this over and over again in my area. Especially since we’re a college town and the college kids are all taken advantage of. Yes, there are the ones who trash things and could care less… however there are the ones like my kids where I have personally gone through the place with them before they moved in and written every little thing down, then helped them clean and repair and walked through again afterwards and STILL had to fight the landlord for the deposit. Amazing, tho’, when Mom and/or Dad get involved, suddenly the landlords are a bit more willing to give the money back. I think the kids are intimidated and won’t go after them so they just push it as far as they can. Oh, I could go on and on, but this is YOUR blog after all… 😉 Bastards.

  22. That really bites. I’ve had good luck getting my full deposits back in the past, so there are good landlords out there, but then I’ve had my share of grief on the other end, getting the apt.

    In one case, my new apt manager told me to go through the place and note anything wrong or things to be fixed. I was thorough…so thorough they decided they’d rather not have me as a tenant even though I’d already started moving in and had just had a fridge delivered. I tried to reason with the company, said I didn’t need anything fixed, but they didn’t care.

    At least they gave me all my money back (technically, they could’ve prorated it). That was years ago and I’m still gunshy about the whole renting business.

  23. It’s the universe speaking to you, sizzle. You will be a decent super because the universe sent you a creep. Too bad the lesson costs money, tho. That sucks.

    Mayberry Magpie

  24. That sucks royally and you should ahve some kind of recourse. Unfortunately, being Canadian, I can’t help. I have never had to give a deposit on an apartment – just first and last.
    There must be somewhere you can fight this.

  25. What the hell? This is all sorts of wrong, I would be frustrated too. I think stuff like this really gets under my skin because being ‘fair’ is a quality that I pride myself on having. It sucks when you see other people aren’t.

    Sorry you had to deal with assholes.

    (Can hallmark just get on it and turn that into a greeting card?? Seriously. Wouldn’t that just be a useful card to give?)

  26. One more bullshit deposit fee for you:

    I got charged $120 to clean and repair my oven after I moved out of an apartment, yeah. $120. That’s bad enough, but here’s the really sucky part: Several months before I moved out, my stove electrocuted my roommate. Yes, that would be with electricity.

    The landlord LOOKED at the stove, “couldn’t find the issue” and refused to repair or replace. Although I complained several times about the short, (it happened again, with fancy arcing, sparking, smoke and noise,) they never did do a thing. So I was without a stove for several months, since I wasn’t really big on the electrocution or burning down the complex.

    But, yay me, after I moved out, THEN they determined a cleaning and repair was necessary after all, and it cost $120.

    Bastards. And to put it all in perspective, this was 12 years ago. Still pisses me off.

  27. You know what? The next person to move into your former apartment will not get new pads and will also get dinged for carpet cleaning. And they might not even have cats. I have had to deal with something similar, and it is bullshit.
    You are going to be such an awesome apartment manager. Because you are not a dick.

  28. It does suck. I’m renting a place temporarily for 3 months and had a $900 deposit ($500 regular, $400 for the cats). I doubt I will get anything back. They’ve already told me if I stay less than a year I will have to pay for complete repainting and new carpets. Um, cause they change carpets and repaint with every new tenant? Really? I am not even hanging anything up on the walls!
    Because it is a big apartment management company. Pleh.
    My last landlord I called and had do a walk through with me, I told him because I wanted to make sure to fix anything he would charge me for. I got my entire deposit back there. Nice man.

  29. What crap is this? I totally understand the rant … they do the same thing over here. It sucks.

    I’m sure you won’t be ‘that’ kind of apartment block manager 🙂

  30. CRAZY! Those charges sounds like they were taken out via ass and claimed to be a bill. Awful!

    Geez, thank god you are moving on to a better experience. Now you can say … “Rotten sofa dude who never called me back … I’m done with you.” “Stupid charges, mini-blinds … I’m done with you.” … “Garbage man and mail man … I’m here now! GIve me a smile!”
    Fresh start! Smells good! Doesn’t it?!! 🙂
    XOXO

  31. The last place I lived was family owned. They gave my entire deposit back, though I probably didn’t deserve it. Then when I moved here–this company manages lots of properties–and asked about the deposit, the manager made a comment pretty much like, “Oh, don’t expect this back.”

    Still, I wouldn’t dismiss the idea of taking this case before Judge David Young, if I were you 🙂

  32. I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned and it was beautiful, but the bitch lady HELD MY ENTIRE DEPOSIT for having to clean the track in the window. Where your widow slides. Which is ridiculous. My neighbor said that when the new people moved in, it was still dirty. She also charged someone else for CLEANING BEHIND THE OVEN.

    I hate her.

    Sorry about your sucky sitch. Let’s hope karma bites her in the ass.

  33. I had something similar happen when I was in college. I got charged for stupid stuff like not having the front door cleaned on the OUTSIDE and not cleaning UNDER the stove. I was a poor college student and really needed that money that they kept. Ever since then I cleaned my apartments so that they were abosolutely immaculate. I did such a good job when I moved out of one of the apartments that the manager offered me a job cleaning!! It sucks!

  34. I was pretty fortunate with my apartment living before in Texas where there were so many apartment buildings that they often waived the deposit just to get a tenant. But when I started doing property management in Hawaii,I heard horror stories of others pulling stunts like that and I resolved to not do that. I really only charged people for things they truly messed up or didnt’ clean, which was document in writing because of the difference between their check-in inspection and the check-out inspection (that the tenant had to sign/verify). Hawaii was so pro-tenant that you had to have the documentation and receipts to warrant any deductions from the deposit.

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