Persistence Pays Off For Renter Seeking Refund
Posted December 30, 2003
WAKE FOREST, N.C. — Rent and a security deposit go hand-in-hand.
Landlords have to comply with building codes and repair problems. They also have to return security deposits if nothing is damaged when a tenant moves out.
Laurie Cartisser said her landlord did everything he was supposed to until it came time to refund the deposit of the Wake Forest home she rented for almost four years.
"It seemed to be in the right spot at the right time," she said of the three bedroom home.
In March, Cartisser and her new husband bought a house, so she sent the required 30-day written notice to her landlord, Randy Burnette. Cartisser included her last month's rent check and her new address. She moved out in April and expected a refund of her $675 security deposit within a month or two.
When Cartisser did not receive the refund by July, she left a message for Burnette.
"And I didn't hear anything," she said.
In August, Cartisser sent Burnette a certified letter, that was returned undeliverable.
After back-and-forth phone messages and another letter, Burnette called and told Cartisser he already sent her a check, but would get another out right away.
"He sounded really sincere that he was [going to] get it out right away, and nothing!" she said.
Cartisser complained to the Better Business Bureau, but said that did not help. In November, she contacted Five On Your Side.
WRAL called Burnette.Cartisser said she received a certified check the same day.
Burnette blamed the delay on a problem with Cartisser's address, saying he had "two digits transposed." When Five On Your Side reminded him the correct address was on the letters Cartisser sent him. he said he was "not going into details" about why it took so long.
Cartisser is just glad she did not give up.
"We just kept trying," she said. "You know, you do one step and if that doesn't work you do another step and if that step doesn't work you do something else and I was pretty much at the end of all my steps until I sent you guys the e-mail."
North Carolina law gives landlords 30 days to either refund the security deposit or send a letter explaining why they are keeping it. If they do not send a letter within that time, the renter is entitled to the full deposit regardless of damages.