Picture this: landlord with ugly legs and a $200 hair cut shows up a few days before our lease is over to show the property to the new tenant (again). She rolls up in her Beemer, bitching about the cost to maintain her boat on the Chesapeake.
The new tenant doesn’t show, and we have the distinct impression that the landlord has arrived just to tell lies and be nosy. She has an ugly voice.
We know she is telling lies because that is all she has ever told us. She tells lies flagrantly and without suspicion that we tenants may band together, know each other, and compare notes.
Since we moved in, we have mentioned more than a dozen issues which she has said she will fix, or sent someone over to look at (but never followed through), or just ignored. She has ignored codes violations and her obligation to give us 24 hours notice that someone will be coming to do something.
The only thing she has sent someone to do is to install networked smoke detectors. Since she clearly does not care about maintaining the property, we suspect that the smoke detectors are because she gets a bigger fine for not having working smoke detectors than she does for having unsafe lighting fixtures and poorly ventilated clothes dryers or a refrigerator that does not maintain a consistent temperature if the outside temperature is higher than 65 degrees.
So I suppose my shock at her abhorrent behavior yesterday was unwarranted. Along the way, we got 3 different stories about the new tenant taking up residence, what she told him about when we would be out and when he could begin moving in his items, and what she told our neighbors.
Here’s the chronology:
Tuesday, the 30th was our moving day. That gave us Wednesday the 31st, until 11:59 p.m. to remove our remaining odds n’ ends and clean. We intended to do so during the day and in the evening after my domestic partner, Brad, returned from work.
We were respectful tenants. We paid our rent on time, every time, were kind to the property, and we didn’t paint rooms obnoxious colors, put extraneous holes in the walls, or throw loud, late-night parties. Everything we used to make the home ours was impermanent.
After our moving truck left, and we’d melted into our half-made bed amid piles of boxes in complete exhaustion, our old neighbors called to say that there were folks moving stuff into our old place, and that lights were on, and that two massive U-Haul trucks were parked out front.
The morning of the 31st, during which we were still tenants at this property, since our rent bought the entire month, and since our landlords had not arranged any alternative situation with us, I hustled over and did as much as I could, and took away a car load of stuff. Simultaneously from work, Brad called the landlord to ask why people were already moving in, and expressed displeasure because we had intended to remove the rest of our things, get rid of a bunch of cardboard in the basement, and clean that day. Yesterday.
She told him that he was mistaken and that she had not given anyone the keys, and that we still had to do our final walk through, and that nobody would be moving in until after she got the carpets cleaned and painted the walls.
Later that morning, our neighbor called to say that the land lord had told her that people would be moving things into our half of the garage, and that’s why the U-Hauls were out front. She also got snotty with our neighbor about the dustiness of the garage. Which I’m pretty sure is not our neighbor’s problem, and which I’m pretty sure it was pretty kind of our neighbor to desire to take care of.
Then at 3, my neighbor called again to tell me that people were, in fact, moving in. We still had stuff and trash there to care for, and intended to dust and do some additional odds and ends of cleaning.
So Brad called again, and she said that she thought we were moving out on Tuesday. Brad explained that we were, but that we intended to remove the rest of our things and clean on Wednesday. And he reminded her that he previously explained that to her when he arranged for our final walk through and the exchange of our security deposit and keys, and again earlier that same day when he called to ask why people were already moving stuff in on the eve of our last day, about which she claimed we were mistaken.
So, instead of doing work for which I am being paid, and grocery shopping so as to avoid having (another) fast food dinner, I ran around all day like a crazy person vacuuming and cleaning and taking car loads of stuff from our old place that we were rushed out of by our greedy cunt of a landlord.
I ran around amid 5 very large college athletes, who were alternately sitting on our front porch watching the footballers practice across the street and putting their coach’s things in my way. Their coach was nowhere to be found, and his lackeys were polite on the whole.
To add insult to injury, later the landlord met with Brad and told him that she’d only be returning 71% of our security deposit. He argued with her for 45 minutes over this, and explained that since they were absentee landlords and we spent a pile of our money doing maintenance stuff that they couldn’t be bothered to do, that she had absolutely no right to any of our security deposit.
Finally he caved and agreed to contribute half of a $120 carpet cleaning bill, so she returned all but $60 of our security deposit, which Brad deposited in the ATM last night before going to bed so that she would not have the opportunity to stop payment on the check.
She told him that she did not believe that we intended to clean. She got indignant and incredulous. Brad told her she was being ridiculous, and that if she hadn’t told the new guy he could move in a day early that we would’ve cleaned really well. As it ended up, they got a kind of half-assed cleaning job.
So I did some research yesterday afternoon about tenant rights. As it turns out, we are completely justified in our feeling that we got a royal screw job, and so I’ll be sending K_______________ an invoice for $83.33, the $60 she thinks we owe her for cleaning of carpets that were filthy when we moved in, and which she told us she’d clean before we moved in but didn’t, and $23.33, the per diem of our rental agreement, since she robbed our final day from us.
I will send this letter certified and explain that we have a record of all the repairs we requested that were never made, and that if we do not receive payment by date X, she will hear from our attorney, and that a detailed report will be provided to the codes enforcement office. I think I will also print out the above linked landlord tenant handbook and laws and include a copy of our lease (which allows for reasonable wear and tear, by the way).
I would like to itemize all the rotten food items we threw out prior to expiration and before we could use them because our refrigerator needed to be replaced, and when we asked to replace it and take the cost out of the rent, they would not allow us to. Alas, my records are not good enough. Thank God Brad insisted on requesting all of the repairs in writing.