5 On Your Side

Raleigh student struggles to recoup security deposit from apartment complex

Posted May 13, 2014

— When Tarahji Reid began the process of moving out of her Hidden Creek apartment in February, she took extra time to make sure everything was in order. 

She cleaned the bathroom and windows, steam-cleaned the carpets and more, all in an effort to get her $500 deposit back from the north Raleigh complex. 

"It was my first apartment," she said. "I wanted it to look nice."

During her final walk-through, Reid said a representative of the complex told her everything appeared to be in order. 

"We had the walk-through, and she said, 'It looks like how we gave it to you when you first moved in. You shouldn't have a problem with your deposit,'" Reid said.

Thirty days later, when she hadn't heard anything from the apartment complex or received her money, Reid called the office. 

"It was a whole new management team," she said. 

She went back and forth with the new team about damage they say they found that happened to add up to exactly $600 – the amount of her deposit plus a $100 credit she had. Tarahji says they offered to provide pictures, but never did. That's when she contacted 5 On Your Side. 

After multiple calls to Virginia-based S.L. Nusbaum Realty Company, which owns Hidden Creek, WRAL received pictures of damage in Reid's apartment from Karen Reid, the regional property manager. The pictures showed stains on shower tiles and a tear in vinyl flooring in the bathroom. 

"That was like that when I first moved in there," Reid told WRAL News. 

Karen Reid said a letter was sent to Tarahji Reid within {{a href="external_link-2}}30 days as required by law{{/a}}, but she said the letter was sent to her Hidden Oaks address. Tarahji Reid said she gave the complex a forwarding address.

After 5 On Your Side got involved, the company agreed to forgive the floor charge and refund nearly $285. 

"I really wouldn't care if it was $2," she said. "It was my $2. I'm a college student. I can't afford to give away money."

Tips for renters before and after moving: 

  • Always get the condition of the apartment in writing before you leave. 
  • State law requires companies to contact tenants within 30 days after the move-out process with either a refund of a security deposit or an initial written list of damages.
  • Always take pictures of the home and any problems with it before moving in or out.

This story is closed for comments.

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  • 50s Child May 19, 2014

    Sounds like the same management as at North Park, at Duraleigh and Glenwood.

  • Drifter May 14, 2014

    I've lived in several different apartment complexes in my life, and we've never once gotten back the deposit. They always find a way to keep it. The one I'm in now is going to be particularly 'fun' because it's flooded four times and the carpet is trashed. (They even had to cut it to replace the foam underneath) and there's a lot of wear on those cut areas. I'm pretty sure they're going to blame us for that even though their own staff did it.

  • Richard Hertz May 14, 2014
    user avatar

    You have to watch these companies like a hawk. When my son moved out of his apartment. The apartment complex charged him $ 250.00 to clean the oven, but that's not all the story they also charged each of his 3 roommates $250.00 dollars to clean the oven. Total to clean 1 oven $ 1000.00
    I had to make more than a dozen phone calls to get the bill changed to a reasonable fee. I am sure they did that to more kids than not.

  • Obamacare returns again May 14, 2014

    The name should be changed to 'Hidden Fee Apartments.'

  • nativeNCgrl May 14, 2014

    Slumlords are always ready to take advantage of young renters, particularly college students who may not know their rights. I dealt with it in Boone when I was a college student, and I wish I'd sued the pants off them. But I was young and naive and let people walk all over me then. Good for her for fighting for what was right.