Landlord refuses to give back entire deposit

By Melissa

My husband an I recently moved out of our apartment into a house that we just purchased.

We never had a lease at the apartment, though the landlord often said he would have us sign one, he never did. When we first moved into the apartment, we found out that the landlord had JUST purchased it (maybe a week prior to us moving in) and he hadn’t even bothered cleaning or making any repairs to the apartment. It hadn’t been lived in for quite some time so it was very dirty and full of bugs and spiders. The faucet in the kitchen didn’t work – there was no hot water and it squirted everywhere. It took him a month to have it repaired. The ceiling in the upstairs 1/2 bath was caving in and it took him a month to have that repaired. The walls were damaged and dinged. The carpets were filthy. The ceiling panels in the bathroom aren’t in the best shape. Also, we never received keys to the apartment. We received one key to the main stairwell, but since the landlord sometimes uses the stairwell (he lives in the apartment below ours) he asked us to keep it unlocked. The landlord also made a harrassing entry into our apartment on the very first evening we lived there. I was showering, husband was out, and daughter was sleeping. All of a sudden, there was a loud banging at the door and he rushed into our apartment while I was in the bathroom, naked without any access to clothes, ranting about some minor leak downstairs. Granted, a leak can be an emergency – but it’s not good to go running into someone’s living space when they are naked and taking a shower! The landlord is never home either – he is a over the road trucker so he is rarely around. This winter, the property was not adequately maintained. The sidewalks were dangerously icy and snow covered. Never once were we told that we needed to take care of any of the snow shoveling. It was so icy, that I didn’t want to leave the house for fear that I’d fall. I ended up having to buy special traction covers for my shoes. Needless to say, our landlord has not been the best.

Now, he has been telling our friend and neighbor that he’s going to withhold some or all of our deposit because the carpets need steam cleaned and because it’s “disgusting” up there. I have no idea what it’s talking about – it was dirtier when we moved in! And we are planning on using our own caroet cleaner to clean the carpets before we leave. I did take before and after photos to prove that it was a mess. What else can I do? Our friend and neighbor said that our landlord told him that he (the landlord) is just irritated because now he’ll have to pay the full mortgage payment on the place and he doesn’t have any potential renters. So I’m sure he’s just doing this out of spite. I just couldn’t stand living there any more – it was unsafe for my daughter and when the landlord was home, he threw loud parties and there were people banging on our door (thinking it was the door to the landlord’s house) at 3 am! I just want my deposit back – I think we deserve it.

Please help!

Edited on: Friday, March 25th, 2011 6:29 pm

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