Hello everyone. My situation is a bit convoluted but I have done my best to break it down in simple terms. Basically, I feel as though my former landlord is unfairly witholding cleaning costs from my security deposit.
Here are the chain of events:
- I signed a year long lease, but at about month 10 I informed my landlord that I needed to break the lease in order to take a job out of state. LL was fine this so long as I could find a suitable replacement to take over the lease for the remaining months. This was accomplished successfully (mostly by my efforts since the LL lives out of state).
- Although the lease states that a charge of $30/room for shampooing the carpets would be deducted from the security deposit if this needed to be done, LL conveyed in an e-mail that this cost would not be deducted if the cleaning could be done on the same day that another unit needed to be cleaned (so as to avoid having to rent the cleaning equipment and hiring a cleaning crew on two separate days).
- On moving day, my wife had the entire unit cleared out hours ahead of schedule, giving the cleaning crew ample time to shampoo the carpets. My wife was at the unit throughout the day and had to remind the team (a couple times) who was working in the unit next door, that the unit was ready to be cleaned. One of them finally said "don't worry, we're just going to take care of it tomorrow". This particular crew member was someone with whom we worked closely throughout the year as this person was in charge of maintaining the building--so we had a trusting relationship. This person also knew that we were working hard to adhere to their cleaning schedule so as to avoid the cleaning costs...so we figured that if these charges were to be incurred as a consequence of their delaying the cleaning, this person would have told us.
- A few days later, I received an e-mail from LL indicating that b/c the cleaning crew could not gain access to our unit on the same day that the other unit was being cleaned, the crew had to be paid to come back the following day to clean our unit and that we would now be responsible for these charges ($120 total).
- I informed LL that the cleaning crew had access to unit throughout the day but chose not to clean and thus it was by no fault of our own that the cleaning crew needed to return to clean the unit. In response, LL said that the crew stated that they were unable to get access to our unit throughout the day and that when they asked us if they could begin cleaning, my wife told them "now is not a good time"...which is a total lie. Furthermore, LL said that the crew came into the unit a couple times to start cleaning, but were unable to do so because there was a cable box and laptop on the floor (which my could have easily been moved if we knew that they were ready to get started). This of course contradicts LL's first claim that crew did not have access to unit. Furthermore, we have a time/date stamped receipt that shows that the cable box was returned before the time the crew is claiming they saw it on the floor. What is particularly frustrating is that my wife was home home all day long while the cleaning crew was there and she was chit-chatting with them throughout the day....so at any point they could have come in to clean, or at least they could have told her that those two items needed to be moved in preparation for the clean.
Bottom line is that we are being charged for cleaning costs which would have been avoided had the cleaning crew done there job on the day it was supposed to be done. They clearly had access to our unit the entire day, but chose not to clean it that day. Although the crew is lying about what actually happened, LL is obviously giving them the benefit of the doubt. I have yet to bring the cable box receipt to LL's attention, but plan to do so shortly in order to show that the crew's story is not as credible as once thought. If that doesn't work and LL still refuses to release the reminder of the security deposit, could I try to add a little pressure by threatening legal action? I feel really bad about doing that , but I am enraged that he is accusing my wife of lying and $120 is a lot for us to lose!
Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!!!