Thursday, December 04, 2008

Anyone Know a Good Lawyer?

Sometimes things get worse before they can get better...

I sent a letter out to the former landlord last week via certified USPS. Following is the majority of that letter:

This letter is to formally request the immediate refund of our security deposit in the amount of $1,000.00 (one-thousand dollars) and the final month’s rent in the amount of $1,600.00 (one-thousand, six-hundred dollars).

Under the Florida Landlord Tenant Law Section 83.46(2), F. S.,

“…the landlord must either return your deposit within 15 days of termination of the rental agreement, if the landlord does not intend to impose a claim upon the security deposit; or justify in writing by certified mail, to the tenant's last known mailing address within 30-days upon termination of a rental agreement, as to why they are keeping a portion of or all of the deposit. If the notice is not sent as required within the 30-day period, the landlord forfeits his/her right to impose a claim upon the deposit…”

At the time that we notified (landlord) of our intent to move from the premises, we were informed via a telephone conversation with (landlord) that a new renter would need to be found to take over the remainder of the lease in order for us to receive a refund of our final month’s rent (deposited at the time we moved in to the premises). A new tenant was found shortly and we complied with multiple visits and phone calls from said incoming renters to facilitate their moving in to the premises immediately upon our vacation of the premises.

(landlord's wife) made reference to some cleaning reportedly done by the incoming tenants upon move-in. We spent the entirety of the day on Saturday, October 19th cleaning the premises, which in fact was why we did not vacate until 7pm. All floors were swept and mopped. The bathroom and kitchen were scrubbed and walls and windowsills were wiped down. Earlier that day we handed over the keys to the incoming tenants. Said incoming tenants asked us to leave the rear entry to the premises unlocked when we left and we complied with this request.

To our understanding, the accusation of necessary cleaning is based completely on claims made by the incoming tenants, who provided no proof of said issue, and not verified by any legal landlord or landlord’s representative.

As we vacated the premises at 7pm on Saturday, October 18th, 30 (thirty) days have passed and we have not received either funds representing the security deposit and final month’s rent or a written notification of intent to impose a claim on said funds. (landlord) was informed via a telephone conversation during the week of October 20-24, 2008 that the premises had been vacated and also of our forwarding address. We were assured that funds would be forthcoming. We therefore require funds in the amount of $2,600.00 (Two-thousand, six-hundred dollars) deposited into our account immediately (see information at the end of this letter) or a cashiers check sent by priority mail to our forwarding address (see below).

Delay in this matter has caused us extreme financial hardship and therefore if we do not hear a response from you by November 28th, 2008, we will turn this matter over to our attorney and be requesting interest in addition to the funds requested above.

We got a response in the mail today. It was two pages of claims as to why he is keeping $1,300 of the funds, about 80% of which are totally unfounded and complete bull. Some of the reasons aren't even things that I think are lawful. He claims that we owe "lost rent" from the time we moved out to November 1st because that is when the new tenants moved in. The new tenants accepted the keys from us THE DAY WE LEFT. In my world this means taking over the property. I don't care WHEN they moved in their stuff, they were responsible for the house once they had the keys.

Also in the letter was a check for the other $1,300. A PERSONAL check, UNSIGNED.

I am having some pretty severe anger issues today.


Anonymous said...

You probably already know this, but whatever you do, DO NOT CASH THAT CHECK. I believe that if you do it is considered proof that you agree with his assessment.

actonbell said...

Actually, you CAN'T cash an unsigned check. Was this a sneaky way of delaying all payment?

I'd had anger issues, too.

Alyson (New England Living) said...

What a pain. Sorry to hear you're going through that. I've had similar issues with past landlords and have lost a lot of money over the years. Thankfully, now we own, but man, it's horrible, horrible to deal with kind of crap.

I hope it can be resolved quickly! Not fun to deal with over the holidays.

Anonymous said...

At issue is "he said - she said." You indicate the new tenants had received the keys. Right? You acknowledge leaving the premises unlocked. Why did you do that? They had the keys. It may jeopardize your position because you failed to secure the premises. Sometimes banks do process unsigned checks. If you want to pursue this - don't process it. Georgia attorneys - or Florida attorneys are not free. How much are you willing to lose in order to get it all back? It is a tough call.

ReesePie said...

We have no intent of cashing the check. We consulted briefly with a lawyer yesterday and I am writing another letter after scouring the FLorida statutes regarding landlord/tenant law.