As I've said before, I recently bought a house (yay!) and have moved from the evil world of apartment rentals. However, my apartment company is still holding on trying to get every last cent out of me. Anybody with a legal-ish background that might know what I could say next (or anyone who just wants to weigh in)? Here's the situation:
I moved into my apartment two years ago. They had a special going and I did not have to pay a security deposit. I DID have to pay $500 for a pet deposit (along with $15 extra month) and the lease states that only $250 of the deposit is refundable.
When I moved out, they told me that the carpet has to get replaced, but that they'll prorate the new carpet based on how long I lived there (2 years) and the life of the carpet (5 years). So, I'm basically assuming I'll not be getting back any deposit (basically what is standard at all apartments, it seems). I'm okay with this since I was pretty much expecting it.
So I get my statement in the mail a couple weeks ago and the bill is about $475 in damage/cleaning charges. They marked down that my deposit was $250 and that I owe $225. Mind you, I paid $500 in deposits initially, so I'm confused at this point. I wrote a letter explaining that I paid $500 and that the lease says that the pet deposit will be used in the same manner as the security deposit in order to pay for any damages, I mailed this in to them. I also said that I understood that only $250 was refundable, but that my damage amount was still below the total amount so I should be getting back $25.
Three days ago I got the following email:
This email is to inform you that I did receive your letter regarding your question with the pet fee and pet deposit you paid. You do owe the amount provided on your letter we sent to you. I've tried calling you several times but the number we have is out of service [Note: it's not, they just apparently don't use the area code when they call cause they're dumb]. If you have further questions please just give me a call. I do need to know when this balance will be paid. Thanks so much and have a wonderful day!
So I then respond right away with this:
Hello Ms. Assistant Manager,
My phone number is [same number you have before], but email is certainly the best way to reach me during business hours.
I'm confused by the additional charge since the pet deposit I paid was for $500. Nowhere in my lease does it call this deposit a fee (the pet fee was the additional $15 a month that I paid - $360 over the life of the lease), however it does clearly state that only $250 of the deposit is refundable. This is what I agreed to during my lease signing and this is what I've been going off of. The lease also states that the pet deposit is to be used just like any other apartment deposit, meaning that the amount owed will be taken from the deposit. Since I paid over the amount owed in initial deposits, I'm not sure how there is an additional charge. Please indicate which section of the lease I need to review which states that [apartment name] only uses the refundable portion of the pet deposit for damages. This seems contrary to what I have read in the lease as well as in Oklahoma tenant laws.
After a day and a half I get this back:
You are more than welcome to come by the office and we can look over our pet deposit addendum together and clear up any questions you may have.
Feel free to call me and let me know what day will work for you if you're interested in doing so.
Thanks so much,
I want them to tell me what section it is, I don't understand how that is so difficult to tell me where the actual language is that states that they're allowed to do that. I don't want to have to go into the office to deal with it, it's a huge hassle and I'm kind of a pushover in person!
Can I respond asking again what the exact wording is so that I can take that section to my lawyer? Or is that just asking for trouble? I get that only $250 of my deposit would be eligible for return if my damages were less, but does that mean that they just get to pocket the other $250 without even applying it towards my damages? I don't really want to dispute the damages, whatever, but I do really want to dispute the fact that they think I owe when I already paid them over what they asked for! What do I DO!?!?