The willfully withheld a portion of our deposit without providing proof of the repairs. We sent a certified letter, they left unclaimed @ post office
We mailed Century 21 a letter disputing their itemized letter. In this letter, we requested receipts & proof of the repairs. We mailed this letter using certified mail with signature required. Century 21 left the letter at the post office UNCLAIMED. The post office returned the letter to us after being there for 21 days.
Following is a copy of the letter we sent:
"Saturday, September 28, 2013
Dear Mr. *** ******:
We are in receipt of the Itemized Disposition of Security Deposit paper dated September 20, 2013 and the check you mailed, attached to this Itemized list, for the amount of $1,270.00.
After consulting with the small claims advice line, we have been made aware of our tenant rights. As you should be aware, because you are a licensed realtor and employ employees to handle rental units, there are laws pertaining to the deductions made to the security deposit.
Deductions for any damages are only allowed if WE caused them and they are BEYOND normal wear and tear. Deductions are not allowed for things that were already there, that we didn't cause, stuff that broke from NORMAL USE, or never existed.
As YOU incorrectly referenced Civil Code 1905.5, at the top of your letter, Civil Code 1950.5 clearly defines the following:
1950.5 (b) As used in this section, ''security'' means any payment, fee, deposit, or charge, except as provided in Section 1950.6, that is imposed at the beginning of the tenancy to be used to reimburse the landlord for costs associated with processing a new tenant or that is imposed as an advance payment of rent, used or to be used for any purpose, including but not limited to, any of the following:
(2) The repair of damages to the premises, EXCLUSIVE of ordinary wear and tear, caused by the tenant or by a guest or licensee of the tenant
(e) The landlord may claim of the security only those amounts as are reasonably necessary for the purposes specified in subdivision (b). The landlord MAY NOT assert a claim against the tenant or the security for damages to the premises or any defective conditions that PREEXISTED the tenancy, for ordinary wear and tear or the effects there of, whether the wear and tear preexisted the tenancy or occurred during the tenancy, or for the cumulative effects of ordinary wear and tear occurring during any one or more tenancies.
(f) (2) Based on the inspection, the landlord shall give the tenant an itemized statement specifying repairs or cleanings that are proposed to be the basis of any deductions from the security the landlord intents to make pursuant to paragraphs (1) to (4), inclusive, of subdivision (b). This statement shall also include the texts of paragraphs (1) to (4), inclusive, of subdivision (b). The statement shall be given to the tenant, if the tenant is present for the inspection
(g) (2) Along with the itemized statement, the landlord shall also include copies of documents showing charges incurred and deducted by the landlord to repair or clean the premises, as follows:
(A) If the landlord or landlord's employee did the work, the itemized statement shall reasonably describe the work performed. The itemized statement shall include the time spent and the reasonable hourly rate charged.
(B) If the landlord or landlord's employee did not do to the work, the landlord shall provide the tenant a copy of the bill, invoice, or receipt supplied by the person or entity performing the work. The itemized statement shall provide the tenant with the name, address, and telephone number of the person or entity, if the bill, invoice, or receipt does not include that information.
(C) If a deduction is made for materials or supplies, the landlord shall provide a copy of the bill, invoice or receipt.
(4) The landlord need not comply with paragraph (2) or (3) if either of the following applies:
(A) Deductions for repairs and cleaning together DO NOT EXCEED one hundred twenty-five dollars ($125)"
Please see below:
Please see below, for the remainder of our letter to Century 21. This has the settlement we are seeking:
"(l) The bad faith claim or retention by a landlord or the landlord's successors in interest of the security or any portion there of in violation of this section, or the bad faith demand of replacement security in violation of subdivision (j), may subject the landlord or the landlord's successors in interest to statutory damages of up to twice the amount of the security, in addition to actual damages. The court may award damages for bad faith whenever the facts warrant that award, regardless of whether the injured party has specifically requested relief. In any action under this section, the landlord or the landlord's successors in interest shall have the burden of proof as to the reasonableness of the amounts claimed or the authority pursuant to this section to demand additional security deposits.
(m) No lease or rental agreement may contain any provision characterizing any security as ''nonrefundable''
We are disputing the itemized list you mailed us. As was discussed, during our meeting with you on 9/6/13, we did not leave the house damaged beyond normal wear and tear. We are asking for a refund of the following:
** The amount of $425 you withheld from our deposit, you listed as material plus labor.
** The monthly $5 advance rent, we paid at the beginning of our lease.
** All the monies we paid out of our pocket, for ''repairs that were due to normal wear & tear''
We feel you, being a real estate broker and operating a rental business, have the knowledge pertaining to rental and real estate laws. We feel your office, under the guidance of you, have kept the money in bad faith, fraudulently, and done unfair business practices.
******* & ******** *****"
We have every receipt for every repair we have made to the house we lived in. The carpet was already 11 years old, according to Mr. ******. The microwave was 14 years old. There was NO WATER DAMAGE & we have proof! They used our money to improve their house. There are costs of doing business. We are not obigated to reimburse the owners for their costs of doing business. There were no damages BEYOND normal wear & tear.
We are requesting $425 reimbursed PLUS the additional $5 monthly advance rent we paid, all the monies (we have the receipts) paid out of our pocket for repairs that were beyond normal wear & tear.
If we are forced to filed a small claims court action, we will request 2 times the total amount of the deposit due to Mr ****** willfully withholding our money.
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
We are also perplexed as to why *** ****** would claim to be "a little confused."
*** ******'s office, Century 21 *** ******, has been our ONLY POINT OF CONTACT.
When we signed the original lease, it was as his office. THE OWNER WAS NOT THERE. When we did the walk-through before we moved in & the walk through within 3 days of moving in it was on Century 21's form. Vicente, from Century 21, took photos prior to us moving in. The owners did not do the walk through with us. Vicente, a representative of Century 21, did the walk through.
When we paid the rent, WE PAID TO HIS OFFICE. WE MADE THE CHECK OUT THE *** ******.
When we had something that broke, WE CALLED CENTURY 21. We never called the owner.
When we moved out, we gave notice to Century 21. When we had ANY QUESTIONS - EVER - Century 21 was our ONLY POINT OF CONTACT. They refused to give us contact information for & about the owner. They would ONLY take our question & tell us THEY, THEMSELVES would contact the owner. Century 21 would then get back to us.
Century 21 has an obligation to adhere to the civil codes I presented in my letter! Century 21, *** ******, NOT THE OWNER OF THE PROPERTY, gave us the itemized deposit letter. THE PARTIAL REFUND OF OUR DEPOSIT WAS DRAWN ON A CENTURY 21 *** ****** ACCOUNT NOT THE PROPERTY OWNER'S ACCOUNT. *** ****** never complied with the civil codes we addressed in our letter. As *** ****** represents the owner, and his/her vested interest, he too should be held liable.
In reference to the "pre-move out inspection": I did a walk through with his employee who said "everything looked fine." She said she would contact the owner and get back with us. Century 21 NEVER used our ORIGINAL move-in inspection sheets and move-in pictures as a guide for our move out inspection. His employee only walked through & looked at everything. She did not bring or provide us any paperwork or original move-in/out sheets. Therefore, we NEVER SIGNED ANY move out sheet. Our move-in sheet had a move out section, which was to be completed when we moved out. This was to be used so Century 21 (or as they like to claim - the owner) could not come back & say any damages we listed initially were caused by us.
The carpet was not "RUINED" BY ANY WATER DAMAGE! We have statement(s) from various carpet inspectors that are qualified to testify, if we do go to court, that it was not caused by water damage. As *** ******, himself, told us the carpet was 5 years old when we moved in. We lived there for 6 yrs. The carpet was over 11 yrs old when we moved out. There is expected to be wear and tear. Brown coloring on the edge of the carpet is due to this normal wear and tear, over the course of 11 years. The courts of California only allow the pro-rated cost of carpet under 10 years of age, that needs to be replaced, to be deducted from our deposit. The deduction is to be pro-rated by the age of the carpet. There was NEVER ANY WATER DAMAGE caused by us. Who is to say - the owners or previous owner/tenant had water damage (PRIOR TO US RESIDING IN THIS HOUSE)? The baseboards, where the carpet was, were in good condition when we moved out. As with ANY WATER DAMAGE, if there was water damage the MDF baseboards would have discolored and swollen up. This did not occur. The brown coloring, we were told about only happened in the hallway. This occurs, as the carpet inspector told us, for various reasons. One reason is because vacuums do not reach to the edge of the baseboard. Over the years, due to normal wear and tear, the carpet discolors. There are also other reasons, which we can submit to the court - as listed in his statement to us. We do not have to explain ourselves when this carpet was stained prior to us moving in. This was listed on both move in sheets and also shown in the pictures ******* took.
The microwave door discolored through the use of NORMAL WEAR AND TEAR. We are not responsible for the aging defects of the microwave. The discoloration did not affect the use and efficiency of the microwave. As is referenced in the multiple statements we have from various appliance technicians, this burn mark could have occurred from a seal that wore out over the years. A seal wearing out due to normal use, is considered NORMAL WEAR AND TEAR.
*** ******'s lie about the letter misplaced is exactly that. A LIE! The post office made multiple attempts for him to pick up the letter. Notices were left on 10/1, 10/7, & 10/16 for *** ****** to pick up this letter. The original letter, we mailed, was returned to us on 11/12. This date is AFTER the "expiration date."
If *** ****** wished to not be contacted or involved in this situation, and wants to pass *** responsibility - for which the owners paid him to do - then he needs to give us contact information about the owner of the property. As *** ****** IS VERY INVOLVED in the rental industry then they are also very knowledgable as to the rental laws. Ignorance is not an exception to the law.
We are NOT responsible for the cost of the OWNERS AND *** ****** doing business. The deductions that were made to our deposit were due to normal wear and tear. As per the civil code mentioned - we ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE COST OF NORMAL WEAR AND TEAR! *** ******, claiming to be a licensed real estate agent/broker/owner, knows these laws. *** ****** and the owners did not comply with the civil codes we mentioned in our letter.
WE EXPECT A COMPLETE FULL REFUND OF ALL OF OUR DEPOSIT MONEY AND ADVANCED RENT WE PAID.
Final Business Response
IN AN ATTEMPT TO QUICKLY QUELL THIS MATTERI WILL ATTEMPT TO SUMMARIZE THIS ENTIRE DISPUTE. THIIS ISSUE HERE REVOLVES AROUND TWO ITEMS THE CARPET AND THE MICROWAVE AND WHETHER OR NOT THERE WAS WEAR AND TEAR OR NEGLECT. THE LANDLORDS CARPET INSTALLER STATES THERE WAS WATER DAMAGE AND THE TENANTS ADVISOR STATES THERE WAS NO WATER DAMAGE. THIS IS THE ESSENCE OF THIS ENTIRE CLAIMNOTHING MORE NOTHING LESS!!
THIS CLAIM IS FOR 425 DOLLARS. THAT IS IT . I WILL CONFERR WITH THE LANDLORD AND SEE WHAT THEY PROPOSE. AND I WOULD LIKE TO SEE WHAT THE BBB OFFERS IN A RESOLUTION.
I DONOT RESPOND WELL TO PEOPLE WHO CAST ASPERSIONS UPON ME! I'VE BEEN IN BUSINESS FOR OVER 33 YEARS AND MY RECORD SPEAKS FOR ITSELF. I DO NOT HIDE FROM PROBLEMS I TAKE THEM ON AS REQUIRED OF A PERSON IN MY POSITION. BELIEVE ME I HAVE BEEN IN MUCH MORE SIGNIFICANT DISPUTES THAN THIS! FURTHER I HAVE BEEN AN ACCREDITED MEMBER OF THE BBB FOR MORE YEARS THAN I CAN REMEMBER THEY TOO CAN VERIFY MY RECORD.
LET US MOVE ON AND RESLOVE THIS.
BY THE WAY THE LANDLORDS NAME AND ADDRESS IS A ITEM OF PUBLIC RECORD AND WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT YOU REFER TO IN THE $5.00 MONTHLY ADVANCE !! *** ******