Help getting deposit

By NotStandingForIt!

For one year, my boyfriend and I rented a single family home.  We moved out 8/10/08, per the termination date of our lease.  During the time we lived there, I got sick, drank a little too much Ny-Quil which, mixed with my other medicine, completly knocked me out…. in the bathtub.  My tub, which was upstairs, overflowed.  The overflowing water caused there to be some minor water stains going down the wall directly underneath in the kitchen, as well as damage to the ceilng in the kitchen.  I immediately advised my landlords of the damage, and they came over and checked it out, saying we would be responsible for getting the ceiling fixed, or they could hire somebody but it may have been more expensive.  He also stated nothing like this had ever happened, even though there appeared to be a clear seam in the ceiling from where a section had been cut in previosly, as well as several cuts in his trim around that same area of ceiling.  There was also a grey colored area on the bathroom floor when we came to look at the place before renting, but they said that was just from people not closing their shower curtain good enough to keep water from spraying out.  Anways, I hired a man to come and repair the ceilng, and he also checked the floor of the upstairs bathroom to make sure no further repairs needed to be done, because obviously he would’ve loved to find more work to be done so he could charge more.  However, he said no damage to floor and no repairs were required.  He put in new sheetrock for the ceiling and we painted it to match the current paint color.  Now, two weeks after I’ve moved out, I got a phone call last night from my former landlord saying that there was a bubble in the bathroom floor and the estimate to have the floor repaired was $1170.00, meaning they would be keeping my entire deposit.  I asked why neither myself or my boyfriend had been called and given the opportunity to be present at the time of their walk-thru inspection, or at the time of the floor inspection.  She couldn’t answer.  She tried to say that, had I given her the required 30-day notice before moving, that they would’ve done the walk-thru before we moved out to make sure everything was ok.   I then advised her that the lease clearly stated that 30-day notice to vacate was required ONLY if the lease had been converted to a month-to-month term.  She stated that was correct.  I then asked her where was something in writing stating that the floor wasn’t already needing to be repaired before we moved in, and she said she didn’t have anything but that the previous tenants would be more than happy to say that the floor wasn’t like that when they moved out and they received their deposit back.  To me, that is heresay, not proof, and if a landlord called me and asked if there was damage before I moved out, to a dwelling I had lived in over a year ago, I would say “no” too.  Anyways, I’m getting all of my paperwork from when the ceiling repair was done and the structure was checked, as well ad photos showing the floor had been repaired after we were told nothing had ever happened.  Like I said, no walk-thru was ever done before we moved in to inspect for pre-existing damages, nor was a walk-thru done anytime during our tenancy.  The only walk-thru inspection that we’re aware of is the one they did after we moved out when they found this “damage” to the floor.  If any walk-thru was done during our tenancy, we were never notified prior to or after the fact, but it is possible because our home was on the same lot as our landlords, so it was litterally 10 steps for them to walk to the house.  Not too much to stop them from coming in at will why we weren’t home.  I guess what I really want to know is, do I have a chance of getting my deposit back?  I am low on funds, so I was hoping to avoid a legal situation, but I am willing to pursue this on principle.  I didn’t have to ever tell them about the ceiling.  I could’ve gotten it fixed and they would’ve been none the wiser, however I wanted to be an honest tenant because I noticed that it looked like damage had occured in that same area previously, eventhough we were told that it hadn’t.  Please help me, I’m desperate and really need that security deposit.  I’ve heard the horror stories about getting a security deposit back, I just don’t want to let another shady landlord get one over on the tenants who are pretty much at their mercy.  Thanks for any help you can offer.

Edited on: Wednesday, August 27th, 2008 12:27 pm

3 Responses to “Help getting deposit”

My response: (We welcome stories, examples, explanations, answers and a touch of your personality)


August 27th, 2008 1:17 pm

It frustrating disputing deposit problems with your landlord. The fact is that yes you can dispute the charges. If you can’t afford a court battle, I would suggest filing a complaint with the RPA, the agent assigned to work on the case will know best how to approach the situation. Getting your deposit back always seems to be such a headache…. Good luck!

Randy F.

August 28th, 2008 6:08 am

Water damage can be a tricky thing. Although you mentioned that the repairman didn’t find anything that needed to be fixed in the bathroom; if he isn’t a certified restoration company that deals with water damage, his word will mean little. A true restoration company will use large fans and special meters to check for moisture within the walls and floors. If your guy used these kinds of meters to verify the damage to the property, you may have a case. Otherwise, his word does little.


August 31st, 2008 7:08 am

Didn’t you ever notice the bubble in the floor? If not do you have any pictures to back up your side of the story? I always take pictures before I move out of a rental property. Oh yeah, if you have renters insurance you may to file a claim with them. If they are willing to pay for the damage, that will take care of the financial burden.


Yes, the RPA® Can Help You!

Filing an official complaint is the nation's fastest way to solve tenant problems.

Not Ready? Learn more...

Virginia Complaint Filling Deadline  Tips/Suggestion

Need Help Filing Your Complaint?

Agents Available Mon- Fri 10am to 10pm

Recently Resolved Complaints:

See how the Nation's Rental Authority has helped thousands of tenants already!

Ask Question:

Post a new question to the RPA Tenants rights forum.

You Have Tenant Rights.
Recently Posted Questions:

Over 4,000 questions have been asked by tenants including these new posts:

Tenant Rights Categories

Popular categories about renters rights.