Rent deposit refund

By anonymous

Our landlord is claiming that we damaged something when in fact we did not damage it and did not notice any damage when we moved out.  We called the landlord several times to try to schedule a walk through when we moved out, but she kept putting it off or not calling us back. So after 2 weekends had passed, I contacted her & she suggested that I return the keys to her house.

After almost one month passed since we moved out (28 days to be precise), she called to tell us that she found some damage & would only refund $1000 of our $1150 deposit.  I explained to her that we did not do the damage.

I received her personal check today for $1,000.  My question is, if I cash this check, is this an admission that we accept that this is all we plan to receive?  The check has a memo “Security Refund”.   But I don’t want to accept that as a full rent deposit refund.

She did not provide anything such as photographs or an estimate of how much it will cause to fix this “damage”.  She never provided any documentation of the account the desposit was held in or any interest it accrued.  She is a small time landlord with only this apartment and one rental in another state.

If she does not refund the full amount to us, I plan to pursue this since we did not cause the damage.  So I would like to know if its ok to cash the check or not.  In fact, we made repairs to the apartment that she would not help us with since the apartment in general was in need of work and left the apartment in a better condition than when we moved in.  Unfortunately I do not have photos from when we moved in.  In the photos I took when we moved out, I did not photograph the area she is claiming we damaged since I never noticed any problem with that area.

Thank you in advance for your help.

Edited on: Monday, January 10th, 2011 5:30 pm

2 Responses to “Rent deposit refund”

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


October 2nd, 2008 3:34 pm

Sorry, for some reason it says my state in Maryland, but it is New York.

Agent Richardson

October 3rd, 2008 12:43 pm

Dear Ripped Off,
Foremost, do not ever cash a refund check unless you agree with the charges. Once you cash the check you are in fact agreeing to the terms of the refund.
Just so you know, this type of complaint is the most common problem our agency investigates and deals with. As an RPA agent I deal with 2 to 3 of these cases daily.
You landlord does need to provide some type of explanation of the damage, the requirements for this vary per state. But as a renter you have right to dispute any charge to your deposit.
Many times people ask me if they should hire and attorney to dispute the charges. This is almost always a bad idea, its too expensive and takes forever. The best option for any renter wanting to dispute their deposit is to negotiate with the landlord directly, however many times this can be frustrating and a huge hassle. So what other options are available to renters? The RPA (Rental Protection Agency) is by far the best option for dealing with deposit problems. Technically, RPA Deposit Dispute Mediation is free– however, there is a processing fee of $35. Once a deposit complaint is filed with the RPA it will be assigned to an Investigating Agent, like myself, whom will work with both you and your landlord to resolve the deposit charges. Most of the cases are resolved fairly quickly, but some will take a couple of weeks to be resolved.
Having issues with deposit charges is a common problem. Working with a landlord or apartment manager directly to resolve a deposit charge can be an overwhelming and intimidating task. Knowing how to deal with landlords and laws surrounding refund of deposits is something that RPA Agents are well versed in. Over half of my case loads are from deposit problems. The secret to get your money back is simple:
1) File Deposit Complaint with RPA so that a trained RPA Agent can negotiate for you
2) Results are attached to the landlords record… This is incentive for your landlord to be fair!
3) Wait for the refund!
Hope that helps!

Agent Richardson
RPA Agent


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