Just curious if anybody has had any luck getting a security deposit back after a landlord refuses to return it.
Here's the quick situation:
Moved in, payed one month's rent and a month's rent for security deposit. Also payed a $250 pet deposit. A year or so later, we got another small dog and paid an additional $250 pet deposit.
One of the dogs was not properly house trained.
Gave 30 days notice, cleaned house. Some pet stains were not able to be cleaned with a Rug Doctor.
Landlord informed us that they brought their own carpet cleaner and although it was difficult, "most stains" were coming up.
The landlord told us they would not return our deposit, because we owed the gas company for a past due bill. (we hadn't used it this winter, and the past due bill was from the winter before).
When we informed our landlord that the gas company had already turned the gas back on in the landlord's name and that we had an agreement to pay back the balance of what we owed, so whatever issue they felt they had was obviously not an issue. They said they'd get back with us.
Missouri law gives the landlord 30 days to return deposits.
On the 25th day, my wife gets an email saying that they were keeping the deposits because of the carpets, saying that they didn't come 100% clean (which they weren't when we moved in, which was noted on our pre occupancy inspection checklist) and that they'd have to be replaced "eventually".
In the meantime, they have already rented the house and new tenants have been in since about ten days after we moved out.
We were not allowed to do a walk through inspection with the landlord as required by state law. We have not received a list of expenses with receipts detailing the costs of cleaning, as required by state law.
Additionally, our county requires all rental properties to be painted inside and carpeting replaced every five years. We lived there for 4 1/2 years, and the carpet was certainly not less than 6 months old when we moved in, so they're due to be replaced anyway.
We have written a demand letter stating the applicable state statutes, and quoting them verbatim and demanded our deposit be returned.
The pet stains were the only issue mentioned by the landlords, we left the house otherwise cleaner than when we moved in (they had evicted the previous tenant and did not have the house 100% clean when we moved in).
My question is, with this information, would it be reasonable to expect us to be able to get the deposit back WITHOUT going to court, and if we DO have to go to court, does it seem likely that we'd prevail?
If it's possible for us to win the case, I'd rather go to court, since the law also provides for us to receive damages up to twice the deposit amount in addition to our deposit.
Wife talked to a lawyer who suggested we not send the demand letter, but to give her two full weeks to return the deposit and then file for the suit. Said that usually has a far better outcome. SO, we're waiting another week to make contact.
Originally posted by StaggerLeeWife talked to a lawyer who suggested we not send the demand letter, but to give her two full weeks to return the deposit and then file for the suit. Said that usually has a far better outcome. SO, we're waiting another week to make contact.
Not saying that the lawyer to whom your wife spoke is necessarily wrong, but that sounds like the exact opposite of what we learned in law school. Send a threatening letter (aka a demand letter) and that'll clear up a lot of your issues without having to even ponder suing.
Maybe what that lawyer meant to say was that you should send a demand letter drafted by an attorney rather than something drafted by a regular civilian? That could make a difference.
The way he put it, was that most people view it like a collection letter from a creditor they have no intention of paying. He also said in the local courts, its better to have as little interaction as possible beforehand IF it goes to court.
So you had the demand letter written and ready to go, contacted your lawyer, showed your lawyer the letter and told your lawyer your plan for the letter, and you were advised to not give the letter to the landlord, correct? Did you specifically dispute the charge in any other way to the landlord? I'm assuming that you did, because if you didn't and the lawyer is recommending silence on your part, after the landlord already told you that you weren't getting the deposit back, that seems like poor advice. If you have specifically informed the landlord that you dispute the charge, and your lawyer recommends silence, that makes sense because in that case it is on the landlord to respond to your dispute, preferably with evidence to prove the charge, by the end of the time period. If no evidence is provided, that's an easy win.
I'm with StingArmy and your original thought on this, but I don't know Missouri law, let alone your county law.
I'm more interested in what your non-payment to the gas company has to do with your landlord and your deposit.
They do look like bumps. Incidentally, why does the highest magnification turn the moon yellow and make it look like swiss cheese? Am I missing something? EDIT: Whoosh! That joke went right over my head until I read The Thrill's post.