Hello, I live in Massachusetts. I was a resident in an apartment for 3 years, and gave my landlord a security deposit in the amount of $1,100 at the beginning of my tenancy. I never received a receipt, or a statement of the interest earned within the three years I lived there. Nor did I ever deduct any type of interest annually from my rent. About 2 months before I moved out, I went to my landlord's house to bring her a formal move-out letter that contained my new address on it, and that she was to forward my security deposit in the amount of $1,100 plus interest to that address. At that time, she told me that she would have to deduct $500 for a window that broke (I did not break it, and I don't know who did - it was broken from the outside) within 5 months of me moving in.
She has never mentioned this before, I never agreed to that. I told her I'd have to talk to a lawyer, that didn't sound legal, and I took the letter with me and sent it to her via certified mail. At a later date she told me she would no longer pursue it, just to make sure I removed a couple of items in the back of the house. In the end of March, my heat went out, I called her, she fixed it. I have 3 children, ages 7, 3, and 8 months old (at that time). On April 17th, it went out again. I called her and informed her that night, and she called me the next day and said someone would be there to fix it the next day. Someone came and left without fixing it, and she called me and told me there was a dispute because the repair man didn't fix it right the first time, and that someone would be there the following day to fix it.
So the next day I saw the gas company's van and her car in the driveway, they came and left without fixing it, and I didn't receive any call from her about it. Weeks went by, some days it was warm, others cold, and I decided I was not going to pay her until the heat was fixed. She called me when my rent was due (May 3rd) and at that time I told her I was not going to pay her until the heat was fixed. She told me I should have called her AGAIN to tell her I was cold. She said she just waited patiently for the gas company to call her back, and she felt it was warm enough so I didn't need the heat on. Not her call, the law states she's required to provide a heating system into June. Monday morning I got a call from her stating that the gas company would be there on Wednesday, but I would need to open all of the windows during the heater replacement. I said fine. Monday afternoon I got a call from my 8 month old son's school stating that he was wheezing and I had to pick him up. He doesn't have asthma, he gets that way when he gets a bad cold. This was the second cold he had since the heat was out. So they gave him a nebulizer treatment, and I had to stay home with him the next day. That day, I called her infuriated that all this just lagged on, and told her my son needs a nebulizer (breathing treatment) and I've already had to pay for heaters, I was not paying her a dime. I told her I was moving out in a few weeks, and from that point on it did not matter what she did.
I didn't want to be in the house with all of the windows up with my sick son, so I told her to forget fixing it, I'm not paying her no matter what. I probably should have handled it better initially, but I was angry. I didn't speak to her again until I was about to move out, and she did not fix the heat. I arranged a walk-through with her on June 1st, the day after I moved out. It was a Friday, and the trash was due to be picked up on Monday, so I left the bagged trash on the side of the house, and I was going to move it to the sidewalk on Sunday night (she always told the residents that we should not put the trash on the sidewalk before that). She was pissed off the trash was still there, I didn't realize I was supposed to take it with me, but I told her ok, I will remove it before that. We get into the apartment and she is very upset because the carpet is not pristine. I will admit, it needed shampooing, but it was vacuumed, and in no way were there ANY set-in stains.
She was also upset that the walls had some grime where the furniture had been. So she tells me she has to see how much it will cost to get those two things done, and she will let me know how much is left after the deduction for May rent. I told her I don't feel I owe her for May rent, and we argue for a bit. She comes up with a solution that if I paint the walls and shampoo the carpet she'll give me my entire deposit back. I said I'll look into it. A few days later, I call her and tell her there is no way I'm going to paint her walls, I will try to wash them, but that's it. So I go in and wash the walls, and a week or so after that I tell her I can' t afford to shampoo the carpets. She proceeds to tell me she'll have to use a credit card to do this, and she said she can't afford this and that. I tell her that I still don't feel I owe her for the entire month of May, but if she wanted to pro-rate for those 2 weeks she did not do anything, I would accept that. She said ok, and she'd look into the shampooing.
I still have not received my security deposit, nor a list of damages (there was nothing broken in the home, and I removed everything she asked me to) she has deducted from my security deposit, and it has been over 30 days. I sent a demand letter, and informed her that she no longer can withhold my security deposit, she has to send it to me in its entirety, or I will sue her for treble damages. Knowing her, I will probably have to take her to court. My question is, is there anything else I can do to keep it from getting to that point? And if it does get to that point, will she be able to sue me for having to paint walls and wash the carpets (she used a $20 steam cleaner she rented from Costco, by the way, and it looks perfect, and she painted the walls herself) after I have lived there for 3 years? I don't have too much time to put into going back and forth to court, I just want what I gave her back. Will she still be able to deduct these things and rent now if we do go to court? Thank you for taking the time to read through this.