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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    2

    Default New Management Co. Hasn't Returned Deposit, Property Owner Skimmed Funds

    My question involves a security deposit in the State of: Idaho

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. My story is pretty convoluted, and I am not sure what to do. I hope this makes sense...

    To begin, my husband and I began our lease in 2006.

    The landowner decided to switch companies about in 2008. The original management company transfered our deposit to him, and we have proof of the exact amount he cashed. He released money to the new company, but it was not the full amount. When we signed the new lease with the new company, we failed to see that there was money missing...Dumb mistake!

    We caught the mistake when we applied to have a new pet added to our lease and we had to pay more pet deposit. At that time, we caught the missing money and brought it to the new companies' attention. We brought them the receipt from the previous company showing how much the landowner received and cashed. They apologized and said they would deduct that amount off the new pet deposit. We have that pet lease stating that we only had to pay a certain amount, and it is initialed by us and the company manager. Unfortunately, it does not state exactly why they deducted money from the deposit, but I am hoping it is proof enough that they accepted responsibility for the missing money.

    Fast forward to today. We put in our 30-days notice on time. In our letter, we stated that our deposit could be returned to our new address. We received a letter back saying the company didn't have the missing money, and that they would be sending a copy of our letter to the land owner to see what happened to it, and would get back to us when they received a response from him. We never heard anything back.

    The inspection went okay, and they were given our new address tor return the deposit to. It has now been 28 days from the time we moved out, and we haven't received anything back from them. They verbally claimed they have 30 days, but I know that by law, they only had 21 days.

    I sent a certified letter today demanding the return of our deposit from 3 days of their receipt of the letter. Today marks the 30th day since the termination of our lease.

    Here are a few questions I have:

    Are they responsible for the missing money? If we receive the deposit but it is missing the money, is that pet lease proof enough to be able to sue them, or are we going to have to sue the landowner?

    If we receive the deposit before the 3 days are up, can I still take them to court? Even if we receive our deposit within 3 days of the demand letter, it will be well past the 21 days as allowed by Idaho law.

    The law states that past 21 days, they have to return the deposit in full. Does this exclude any amounts the lease said we have to pay for certain things like x-amount deducted for carpet cleaning?

    Any help at all would be appreciated. If you've made it this far down, thanks for reading through everything.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: New Management Co. Hasn't Returned Deposit, Property Owner Skimmed Funds

    Let's say, for example, that your initial deposit was $1,200 and your second lease indicates that your deposit was only $1,000 (with your landlord forwarding only that $1,000 to the new management company). You explain the situation and the new management company gives you $200 off, let's say a $400 pet deposit.

    The first question is whether the pet deposit is nonrefundable. If it is, although your new lease only reflects your payment of a $1,000 deposit, you only paid $200 on your pet deposit and have effectively received a credit for the $200 difference. If the pet deposit is refundable, things are a bit different.

    The second question is whether the new management company has any responsibility for the original lease. It's not clear that they even saw the lease - you signed a new lease with them acknowledging a deposit in the amount of the rent you received. They appear willing to refund the full amount of that deposit.

    Frankly, if I were trying to sort this out in small claims court and I didn't have a clear picture of liability I would sue both the landlord and the management company and let the judge sort things out. But my preference would be to avoid suing a party that has no liability.

    The 21-day period for refunding your deposit may be extended to up to 30 days by agreement. What does your lease say?

    If you have agreed that certain deductions are to be made from your deposit, they would be made before the balance is returned.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: New Management Co. Hasn't Returned Deposit, Property Owner Skimmed Funds

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
    View Post
    Let's say, for example, that your initial deposit was $1,200 and your second lease indicates that your deposit was only $1,000 (with your landlord forwarding only that $1,000 to the new management company). You explain the situation and the new management company gives you $200 off, let's say a $400 pet deposit.

    The first question is whether the pet deposit is nonrefundable. If it is, although your new lease only reflects your payment of a $1,000 deposit, you only paid $200 on your pet deposit and have effectively received a credit for the $200 difference. If the pet deposit is refundable, things are a bit different.

    The second question is whether the new management company has any responsibility for the original lease. It's not clear that they even saw the lease - you signed a new lease with them acknowledging a deposit in the amount of the rent you received. They appear willing to refund the full amount of that deposit.

    Frankly, if I were trying to sort this out in small claims court and I didn't have a clear picture of liability I would sue both the landlord and the management company and let the judge sort things out. But my preference would be to avoid suing a party that has no liability.

    The 21-day period for refunding your deposit may be extended to up to 30 days by agreement. What does your lease say?

    If you have agreed that certain deductions are to be made from your deposit, they would be made before the balance is returned.
    Thanks for the response!

    All of the pet deposits were refundable. Your first paragraph is exactly what happened...they took money off of the second pet deposit in order to make up for the missing money.

    The second company does not have any responsibility with the original lease. We signed a new lease with them. I believe, though, that when they said they were taking the missing money off of the new pet deposit, that they were accepting responsibility for that missing money (they stated at that time that they were going to speak to the landowner about it...obviously that never happened ).

    Our lease does not state anything about how long they have to return our deposit, so I assume it defaults to the 21-day law.

    Here is what has happened since my original post:

    I sent them a 3-day demand letter asking for the full refund of our deposit. Today is the 3rd day, and we received a partial refund in the mail with an itemized deduction. They deducted x amount for carpet cleaning, and another x amount for "cleaning." They also stated we are mistaken about the total deposit amount because they don't know anything about the missing money.

    My question now is:

    They have returned a deduction letter and partial refund within the 3 day time frame of the demand letter. However, since 33 days have passed since our lease terminated, are they even able to deduct anything from the deposit? I was under the impression that if they hadn't sent an itemized deduction within the 21-day time frame, that they forfeited their right to deduct anything.

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