Thursday, July 17, 2014

How much are your principles worth?

We had a beautiful home that we rented for the year while my husband was away in Iraq. Unfortunately, our landlords and their property manager were not so great.

First, we were mislead about our move-out date. Second, the homeowners who already knew they would be returning before the August 2014 move-out date we wanted, came home even earlier than expected and wanted their house back then and there. Third, after the owners returned to the area, any needed repairs started getting difficult, dragged out and done as cheaply and slowly as possible. Fourth, the homeowners were planning a major remodel, including likely changing out the 12-year-old carpeting. Even with all the previous crap, I agreed without hesitation to the three needed visits from contractors to assess the space for expansion and remodel.

After a year of headaches and heartaches with these people, we moved out on June 30. I paid a cleaner to come and do an exceptionally thorough move-out clean and steam clean carpets. I paid the property manager's repair person to take down art work and patch, repair, paint any holes on walls anywhere in the house. I went well above and beyond making that house immaculate. I just wanted out without ANY hassles. The move-out inspection went well. There was one carpet area that I had used an OXY product on that did not work out so well. I showed it to them and gave them a quote from the most highly rated repair person on Angie's list to fix. The property manager signed a move-out inspection stating that the move-out condition was the same as the move-in condition, except for that one carpet spot.

That night I get an e-mail that they have found another stain in the living room. Until just a few days before move-out, we had a large red persian carpet in that room. The stain had a pink tint to it and I just wanted this all to be over and so said, fine, get a quote for its repair too. The stain was exceptionally faint and the property manager mentioned that it should be able to be patched. Then a week later, the list from the landlords to the property manager to us began to grow.

My cleaner and I talked. I wanted to know if he had seen any thing being listed. He told me that a newly claimed master bedroom stain was not there when he did the cleaning, neither before nor after. He stated that the property manager, owners and their kids came while he was steam cleaning, walked around on wet carpets with dirty shoes and refused to take them off. Our cleaner volunteered to us that we ought to get a lawyer right away because, from what he saw and heard, the landlord was out to keep our deposit any way he could. I've been a landlord and I've seen what bad tenants look like. While I know it is self-serving to say so, we were excellent tenants who left that house in excellent condition. We don't smoke, we had a cleaner come once/week to clean the house, we had professional cleaners do a move-out clean and carpet clean. We were good tenants and our housecleaners were willing to back us up.

Not knowing that I had a statement from our cleaner, the property manager wrote to me stating that our cleaner found more than two stains, which we knew was not true. We hired an attorney. Ultimately, after assessing all the "damages," the property manager offered a 50/50 split with the owners of the home on repair costs. We had planned to pay the full costs of the family room carpet replacement and the patch repair for the living room and only that. The number offered was about $500 more than we thought legitimate. On the other hand, it was close, kind of. Our attorney asked us "how much are your principals worth in terms of time and a continued fight on this?" I was so tired, I just wanted to be done with this house and these people. We told her to just accept the offer on our behalf, but tell them we do not accept blame for anything but the two carpet stains, even though we accept their number for costs. We are simply paying for this to be done, to have a written statement from them saying this is over, there will be no other claims of needed repairs. I went back and forth on this, but when all is said and done, I was just too tired to fight this any more.

And, that is how much my principles are worth.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This landlord is either racist, wretched, or retarded -- probably all three. His father would knock some sense into him, in most cases. But, I've met the guy's daddy. He's also racist, wretched, and retarded.