Okay, will try and make this simple. Hang with me, I've got myself into a mess...
About 7 years ago signed a lease that was for a year, with a set amount, etc., with an elderly lady I knew from work and was friendly with. At the time she was in good health and still working. She had several addendums to the lease like no loud noise, etc, no overnight guests, etc but I worked a lot and am single, no problem. This lease was for a furnished two room basement apt, with common area of shared laundry. The ONLY written lease I EVER signed was for that FIRST year.
The first two years were relatively problem-free, but near the end she started coming into the apt unauthorized snooping (lease stipulated notice so many hours in advance unless emergency). We worked it out I thought and it would end, but then she'd start up again. I should have moved, but didn't because of price, security, location.
Next few years she incrementally raised the rent...one time in mid-year. The bathroom which had been mine exclusively became more a common area when she was there doing laundry. She still was coming in the main room often without notice, and left notes about this or that (apt although small, kept clean). Again, no written lease, but by the time we were due for another year, all was rosy and I'd stay on (verbal and original written lease stipulated from Oct to Sep). (holding up my 'SUCKER' sign now) By this time, she was retired and the payment method originally set in the lease (and the amount) had changed a bit.
The next year she got ill, very much so, almost lost her house. Had to do a reverse mortgage to keep it and claimed that I was NOT living there (found that out later) to bank. Told me that my renters' insurance had to be given up or she would lose the reverse mortgage, and, in turn, her home. She still covered my stuff with her homeowners insurance. Now rent payments could only be paid to her in cash (not even money orders). Again, rent came up a bit. She still came into apt without reason, other than she did not/could not walk around the house too well. Despite it all, I felt sorry for her and even helped taking her to dr's visits, getting meds, etc. as her children ignored her. She owes me for some of these things, including some work on the property done by me when she could not pay a plumber, etc. Areas that had not been common areas when we signed the lease oh so many years ago were now being called 'common' areas by her....some I took care of, some I didn't, nothing was dirty, broken or what have you, just maybe the porch wasn't swept once a week as she wanted. She also got a dog that to this day will bark nonstop as soon as the landlord leaves, and also got a security alarm she did not know how to run and had a habit of going off at 2am.
This year Landlord attempted to raise rent again but did so with a notice attached to my previous month's rent...3 September date on receipt, given to me on 5 September, for new rent starting 1 October. (Original lease requested 30 days' notice.) By this time, she was feeling better health-wise but my mother was not and had come to have surgery and then recover. Due to complications with the dr and the surgery, Mom ended up staying almost 2.5 months with me (before, had only had 2 guests both friends who had stayed only one night each in 6+ years). Mom and landlord did not get along and argued. Mom, in pain, argued with me once or twice, too, and we had paper thin walls. 97% time of her there downstairs calm except for TV. Total for the life of the tenancy, more like 99.9% quiet, rarely home except just to sleep. Nothing ever written about Mom or her estimated length of stay, but the Landlord verbally approved and never once asked me to have Mom move on.
Taking into consideration of her health, no personal boundaries, my Mom's non-traveling condition, and rent vs amenities issue, I looked elsewhere. I found one and told her I would not be renewing, would be leaving by 30 Sept, reminded her that she had not given 30 days notice (as per original lease). Landlord was very upset that I was leaving as she needed me to 'take care of her'. Two days later, said she would keep rent the same if I helped her get rid of some things. In the two days I was considering that (we're now about 12 Sep), she said, sorry, wrong, actually need to charge even MORE rent increase than what had been scheduled in the first place. I said no way, and moved as I did not want to get into another year to year lease with her, verbal or no. Two days before end of Sept, neighbour has major water leak and floods my floor. Landlord called water pros to suck up the water, but as result I could not even use the bathroom I was still paying for. Did get all items out and even on last day Landlord was saying she still wanted me as a tenant. Next day, after inspection of apt, she writes glowing review of how clean I had left the apt.
Since leaving 60 days now, she has not been in communication except twice, and both times about some movies I had lent her and forgot about. She has NOT returned renters deposit, even though she was paid in full and everything else met and then some. Ex-neighbour reports Landlord has said she will NOT return deposit because a) I left without 30 days' notice (no matter she did it first to me), b) she considers Mom an extra 'roommate' (which she did not allow in original lease), c) noise too loud when Mama arguing (despite a dog that will bark, still, for hours, and is inside) and d) because she needs the money. No news on the movies, either, and no communication from her. SHE IS DODGING ALL ATTEMPTS TO GET MONEY AND ITEMS BACK. Items a-c are untrue, item d I have no doubts of at all, but that doesn't give her any rights to just 'keep' my deposit.
Okay, I know I've been VERY VERY STUPID and let this lady steamroll me. Question is: what can I do to get my items and money back??? Want this woman out of my life, once and for all.
Thanks....urgent problem needing some savvy advice.
Sorry about the length of this.