Inflating prices of services in order to keep security deposit for a property that is being sold.
Our lease ended without extension because the owner decided to sell the property and end the contract with McCreary Realty. On August 1, 2014, the day that we moved out, the agent that was selling the house for the owner advised us to call the property manager at McCreary Realty so that she could come and complete the walk through inspection while we were there. I called and left a message only for the assistant to call back and say that she would not be able too. The property Manager later called back and stated that they do not complete the walk through with the tenant, which was very odd. After being told that she would not be able to complete the walk through at all that day, she made it to the house after we left to complete the walk through inspection.
We were told that we would receive our deposit in 30 days. Well, we paid a little over $1700 for our security deposit. We received a security deposit transmittal stating that we would receive almost half of our deposit ($897)because of house cleaning, carpet cleaning (3 rooms), lawn maintenance, and minor repairs in the home. I requested a receipt of the services that were supposed to be completed because over $800 worth of work was not needed. The check was returned so that they could fix it, well to our unpleasant surprise they decreased the amount of our refund to $628 stating that the owner paid more money for services. They included some receipts and one was for a company that helps with staging homes for sell. I advised the property manager who no longer manages the home that we were being charged for selling the home and that it is not our responsibility to help pay to sell the home. The email from her says that we were not being charged anything extra and that the company sent a separate invoice for other services. Well after speaking with a representative with the company, I was advised that they give the owners contact information for contractors but they do not bill or complete the work themselves. An "invoice" was attached to the amended form from this company with prices attached when I was told by the company that they DO NOT do the work! After reviewing the website for this particular company, I noticed that staging vacant houses start at $750, which is the amount that was listed on the "invoice".
I pointed this out to the property manager and her reply was a little rude. I responded to her but she choose to mail the inaccurate check and not respond to my email. I don't understand how this company could keep money that is not owed to them.
I am seeking an adjustment in our security deposit refund. We paid this company $1725 to move into a property that they were managing for an owner. We kept the house up and clean. We did not put pictures on the walls or make any changes so that we wouldn't risk the company trying to keep our deposit. They took $420 for lawn care; $250 for carpet cleaning in 3 rooms; $81 for light bulbs, 3 face plates, and 1 toilet seat; $103 to a cleaning company and personal cleaning supplies. We should have received a total of no less than $1200. We rented from this company in good faith hoping that they would not take advantage of us or rip us off.
Contact Name and Title: ******* ** ********
Contact Phone: XXX-XXX-XXXX
Contact Email: *******@mccrearyrealty.com
Prices were not inflated in order to keep any of this resident or any resident's deposits for any reason.
The keys and remotes were to be turned in by 11:59 PM on July 31, per the lease agreement. The tenant did not return keys until 4:30 PM on August 1st, and held possession for that day without notice or permission. Management is not required by law to conduct the move out inspection in the company of any resident. The timing for the move out changed once the property owner learned that the keys had finally been returned to our office, she insisted on the inspection as she was in town to do as much as the make ready work as she possibly could in the 4-5 days she was in town. Ms. ******* changed her plans and other appointments for that evening so she could satisfy our client and get the inspection complete so the owner could begin working on the house.
The claims by this resident that the owner conspired with vendors to inflate costs are just the result of her unsupported suspicions and are not supported by the facts.
The owner worked with a REALTOR to learn what she needed to do to make the property ready for market. If the house did not sell, then she would be instead leasing the house again. For either purpose, the work needed to be completed to restore the house to the condition it was when the former resident leased it, less normal wear & tear.
After sharing this complaint with the Property Owner reported to us the following:
"The accusation that the tenant paid for staging is insulting. The minimal staging that was done was billed to the Real Estate Agent (see attached invoice for that) and will be paid from her fee. I could NOT afford to do the kind of staging that would cost hundreds and hundreds of dollars. The photos of the house on the market are on Zillow.com so you can see for yourself that there is no major staging done in my house. Attached is a letter from the owner of Divine Redesigns stating yet again what she did to help me get the house back up to par. She absolutely does not provide all the services she provided to me to all of her customers, but my situation was unique and my time frame was incredible tight. I relied on **** and ******** for a number of things before I got there, while I was there, and after I left. ****, my Realtor, literally swept out the garage and most of the house on Friday night. How many Realtors do you know that do that? In total, between ********, ****, My Dad & Step-mom and me, we spent over 50 hours in a 2 day period working on the house/yard repairing/replacing all the things the tenants had damaged or destroyed. This did not include the professional cleaning company that came in after us, or the carpet company that came in to replace the carpet on the stairs and bonus room. Please see attached PROOF (cancelled check and business card for vendor) of payment on the RSM Group for the debris removal. I had hired someone to do this that never showed up, and since I had already left town I ask my real estate agent to handle this and bill me. That is the invoice I provided to you."
We were confident that the property owner had properly documented the costs to cure the former resident's obligations at move out before this complaint. The additional documentation that the property owner has provided us further proves that the charges were based solely on the work required to cure the issues left by the former resident ... nothing more and nothing less.
Throughout this month Ms. ******* responded to each and every question that this resident had. She was completely forth coming, honest and upfront with the former resident. I reviewed all of Ms. Wozniak's correspondence as well as those from the former resident and on Monday morning August 25th, I wrote to the former resident informing her of my review and that the results were accurate. I have yet to receive any reply from the former resident regarding my e-mail to her.
It is important to note that the resident is not disputing the facts in that they did not comply with the lease in cleaning & yard maintenance and in damages that were above and beyond normal wear & tear. She is only complaining about the cost to cure the items she was on notice that she needed to cure prior to returning possession of the property. Had she fully cleaned the property at move out & kept the shrubs trimmed properly then the vast majority of the cost to her would not have happened.
At this point, we are 100% confident that the security deposit accounting is accurate and will not be changed.
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
We did leave after the 9 am time but we paid for that time. Management may not be required by law to complete a walk though with the tenant but as a fair practice and to be clear with the tenant, this may be something to consider in the near future.
The owner knew exactly when I left the home because her Realtor was the the entire time. She left for a quick minute but came back and keep the owner informed. The owner came by the house but the practices of the management company did not want the owner and tenant to meet. This came from the Realtor when she got off of the phone with the owner. The Realtor also asked me to call the Management company so that they could come and complete the walk though while we were still there . I left a message asking that question, the return call was from the front office assistant saying that she wouldn't be able to come. Then the Realtor called to ask if I could turn the keys in to her since she is a licensed agent, she was told no.
As far as the response from the owner, this house was NOT destroyed and her Realtor was present while my dad, aunt, mother-in-law, step-son, fiance, friend and myself was at the home cleaning it out. The Realtor watched as my dad and aunt swept the garage and inside the home. This house was not left filthy! The work needed for this home was minimal. The carpet that was replaced was damaged before we moved in so that has absolutely nothing to do with us.
The fact that I know the company very well that removed the debris is a problem. The debris that was removed included more than the dead bushes and we were charged for this removal. The house was not properly cleaned when we moved in so I was not paying a cleaning service to come in to clean this property. If the owner chose to have more work completed then we should not be charged for all of the charges for this home.
The amount of damages as I stated before should have taken no more than $500 to complete all work left by my family, nothing more! We should not have received less than $1200 for whatever work that was left to get the house market ready from what was required of us.
When companies complete work order request, details are usually provided. The Management company states that she provided more documentation and if what they sent me supposed to support the charges that is totally unacceptable!
All of the items that were in the home upon our move in remained there when we moved out.
The last time I checked with a professional landscaping company (last week) they didn't quote over $400 to trim shrubs. I am only asking for the company to be fair and this is ridiculous. I wouldn't spend this much time with this company if I knew that the charges were correct and the company was being fair but that is not the case.
Final Business Response
We were not present when you were cleaning so we cannot attest to the accuracy of any of your statements. However, it is clear that you did not give yourself enough time to vacate the property AND come back to clean the property and maintain the lawn. Had you done that, we would not be where we are today.
We are not required by state law to inspect the property in person with any resident and we do not permit this as an office policy.
NO ONE has ever stated that the house was destroyed. NO ONE stated that the house was left filthy. The cleaning was indeed incomplete and you have agreed to that fact.
The house WAS properly cleaned at your move in and we have receipts from the cleaning company that we use to clean all of our properties before giving possession. This cleaning was extensive and was performed on July 8, 2013.
Details have been provided to this resident, copies of receipts were provided. Your acceptance of the proof we have submitted to the resident is immaterial. Today, we are sending all additional proof we have obtained from the property owner.
As a company we ARE being fair. The property owner, our client submits to us the cost to repair. While very expensive, the cost to cure is that high due to the significant negligence of the resident in not properly maintaining the shrubs on around the rear of the lawn. That's where all of the debris came from and that is why it cost so much. The cost also includes what the hauling company had to pay to dump the refuse at the county dump. That cost can be quite high on its one.
At this point, I am out over $400 in staff time in addressing all of the excessive claims of this resident. She has slandered my company in filing this complaint PRIOR to the 30 days for the return of the deposit as defined by state law had run AND by stating that my firm "ripped" her off.
I am willing to come out of MY pocket $250 to settle this complaint. This offer is good for 24 hours only. It will expire at 1 PM on Wednesday, September 3, 2014.
Final Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she ACCEPTED the response from the business.)
At this point we are repeating ourselves and standing firm so I will accept the settlement.