5 On Your Side

Five On Your Side Helps Former Tenant Get Refund

Posted April 28, 2005

— Landlords can keep parts of deposits for things like damage or unpaid bills. One renter could not get his entire refund even though he could show that he did not owe any money, so he called Five On Your Side for help.

When Mark Devlin moved out of his Lennox Place Apartment, his deposit return was $145 less than he expected. When he questioned management, Devlin was told it was because he did not pay his water bill.

"Oh. I was upset. That was wrong," he said.

Devlin's water payment of $35 per month was added to his monthly rent payment, so he simply wrote one check for $860 each month to include the water. On his paperwork, it was clearly noted as "utilities". But for four months, nothing was applied to "utilities" even though Devlin paid it.

"It was all on paper, you know. How can you ... There's nothing to dispute," he said.

Devlin said the property manager promised to get in touch with the owner, but that did not help.

"Just constant excuses -- lame, lame, lame excuses," he said.

Devlin called Five on Your Side.

"I said I watch it all the time. I said, 'what the heck. Let's give it a shot and that's when I e-mailed you," he said.

Five On Your Side called Lennox Place property manager Daniel Clapper. He could not help, but he promised the owner would, but he did not.

After repeated calls to Clapper, company representative David McMurry called Five On Your Side, saying the charges are "just," but he still would not say why.

Then, three days later, Clapper told Five On Your Side Devlin could pick up a $145 check. There was still no explanation, but at this point, Devlin said he did not care.

"I won. I won," he said.

Devlin originally called Five On Your Side because after two months he had not gotten any deposit back. By law, the landlord has thirty days to either return the deposit or send a letter explaining how much is being kept and why. Security deposits cannot be kept for anything considered normal wear and tear.

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