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This company offers property management services for single family homes and rentals.
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A BBB Accredited Business since
BBB has determined that Whidbey Residential Rentals Inc meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints. BBB Accredited Businesses pay a fee for accreditation review/monitoring and for support of BBB services to the public.
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Business ManagementMs. Theresa Reed, Vice President Ms. Elaine McDowell, President Ms. Anita Reed, Office Manager
Property Management Rental Vacancy Listing Service Real Estate - Rentals by Individuals Residential Property Managers (NAICS: 531311)
285 NE Midway Blvd Ste 2
Oak Harbor, WA 98277 (360) 675-9596 Directions
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Read Complaint Details
Complaint: This is a complaint against Whidbey Residential Rentals (Whidbey), for the wrongful retention of $975.92 of a $1200 security deposit, Whidbey routinely engages in the acts of bad faith tantamount to unfair business practices. On October 2, 2015, we requested in writing the repair of a leaking roof and non-functioning wall heaters. The roof leak was serious and permitted water to enter the attic in several places; the moisture fueled mold growth. The house had a pellet stove and 12 wall heaters to provide heat. The pellet stove was radiant heat only (no HVAC) and the 3 wall heaters on the second floor were the sole source of heat. By this date, five of 12 wall heaters did not work: the entranceway, the master bedroom, the “bonus” room, the second-floor living space, and the second-floor bedroom. Entire rooms and the vast majority of the second floor was without heat. Whidbey did not repair the roof leak or the wall heaters; the request was ignored. This was not the first time repairs were requested and ignored. We delivered written requests on December 20, 2012, March 18, 2013, October 1, 2014, and October 17, 2014. Whidbey also had full knowledge via physical inspections in December 2012, January 2013, March 2013, May 2014, and July 2014. The lease and state law requires Whidbey repair the roof and wall heaters, yet Whidbey habitually ignored repair requests. The lease was month-to-month, so we moved out. We cleaned the house and returned the keys on October 31, 2015, a Saturday. Whidbey is closed on the weekends and charged $88 for weekend rent. Whidbey retained $284 for additional cleaning. Whidbey retained $50 inspection fee and $284 and $173.92 for carpet shampooing and pellet stove inspection. Whidbey refused to affect repairs stipulated by the lease and by the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act, and then selectively enforced lease provisions to its advantage. This is a bad-faith act tantamount to an unfair business practice
Desired Settlement: We desire the return of the wrongfully retained deposit. In the advent that Whidbey refuses to return the wrongfully retained deposit, it is requested that the BBB alter Whidbey's rating to reflect the acts of bad faith tantamount to unfair business practices herein described so that consumer may be better informed before entering into a lease with Whidbey.
Regarding the heaters - they had complained about it each year, as they mentioned. They did it with a letter, if I remember correctly, that we would have put in their file. I don't know what we would find if we could get back into Promas regarding previous work orders, but I didn't send anyone out this past October because it was the same complaint they had made for 3 straight years and I assumed it was just them trying to put the owner on the hook for an unnecessary service call. I assumed that if they had brought this up to us previously, that we had it looked at and it was working correctly. Plus, this last time they brought in their letter, she made it clear that they would be moving out at the end of the month because they didn't want another rent increase for what they felt was a subpar house for the price. I am 99.9% certain that this is the first time (in their BBB complaint) that they had said anything about the other heaters. When Jim M***** went to clean carpets, he said the only heaters he noticed weren't working were the two upstairs that Mark S******* fixed for us right away. Jim said he wouldn't clean the carpets until those two heaters were repaired. In that statement alone, it implies that he found other heaters to be functional. Also, Mike T***** noticed that the master bedroom door had been slightly warped due to the heater being located behind the bedroom door and it must have been used by them for a while to cause that door to be warped. It also seemed to work when we turned on the heat when you and I were there.
The roof - Jeremy C***** was the roofer who went out to look at the roof for cleaning. The story behind the gun was that ******* and I coordinated the roof cleaning and she told me that Dave would be home and she would contact him and let me know ONLY if it was not a good time or day. I specifically remember her saying to me that if I didn't get a call back, they were okay to go get started. When they arrived about 2 hours later (and no response back from *******, despite me calling her back), **** was home and when the roofers pulled into the driveway, **** had a gun pointed at them. Jeremy called me right away and threatened to not do work for us and that he was concerned for others who may have had to go back out there. I don't recall him saying anything about finding evidence of a leak (obviously, I would have notified Dan G**** if he had reported any sign of leaks). Next, when we went out there and inspected the property, I was in the attic and saw ZERO signs of any leaks or even past leaks. Plus, Mike T*****, the Owner of ODD JOBS, even went into the attic crawlspace and also reported no evidence of leaks. He stated that the water they were complaining about was likely coming from the roof down over the edge of the gutters due to needing new gutters on the house. So, in total, at least two, if not 3 different people did not find any hard evidence regarding a roof leak.
They were on a month to month lease. The did give proper notice. In regards to the inspection I have attached a copy of the vacate report. The tenant did not complete the necessary requirement as per their vacate. The lease states completely moved out, leaving the premises in a clean, undamaged condition, with a paid receipt for the carpet cleaning, fireplace inspection. The lease also states, the landlord can charge the tenant $10 for every phone call made to get the property in rent ready condition. The tenant was only charged the amounts of the invoices the vendors gave us to complete the necessary items on the vacate check list. In regards to the inspection fee of $50, it states in the lease "Upon vacating, the tenant understands there is a $50.00 non-refundable administrative processing fee for service of move-out inspection and processing the deposit funds." The tenant initialed this section on the lease with that understanding. If you need any additional information please call me ************
Whidbey Residential Rentals' response to the complaint filed with the Better Business Bureau on December 15, 2015, is an affirmative declaration in writing of the intentional breach of the landlord's duty to repair and the selective enforcement of lease provisions. It refutes not the complaint but rather confirms it. The alleged gun incident never occurred. It is a LIE. It is libel. Libel is a tort. Retract the libel.
Whidbey admits to ignoring repair requests. Stating that you “assumed” repeated repair request was “just them trying to put the owner on the hook for an unnecessary service call” does not negate a duty to repair inoperable wall heaters. This is unethical and unlawful. A landlord must maintain the heaters in a rental unit under the Warranty of Habitability of the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act of 1973. Wash. Rev. Code. §59.18.060(5, 8, 9, 11). Tenants do not have to make repeated requests for repairs: landlords must repair heaters, not assume they are functioning and ignore the request. Whidbey admits that it nevertheless repeatedly ignored repair requests over the course of three years. This, like lying about pulling a gun on roofers, is an act of bad faith and an unethical business practice.
It is not true that “this is the first time (in their BBB complaint) that they had said anything about the other heaters.” On October 1, 2014, a written repair request was submitted. On October 14, 2014, Whidbey responded via email:
I apologize, but I was not aware of any heaters not properly working. Can you provide me with any info on this and I'll see what I can do for you?
On October 17, 2014, Whidbey received the following response:
No need to apologize. I will gladly provide you with more information. I showed [Whidbey's co-owner] the non-functioning and/or inoperable heaters during her July  inspection. It proved an ideal time to explain issues with the house. Also, I believe my husband spoke with you about the heaters, when you visited the house in May . You know [my husband]--always complaining about the heaters! You and I spoke on several occasions this past winter, if I remember correctly. In February or March , I believe. I know we discussed the heaters, and other issues, in January . Late last year, I'd say in November or early December, 2013, I mentioned the heaters. In November, 2013, my husband told [Whidbey's co-owner] the heaters did not work. We must have spoke about the heaters in early September or early October, 2013, when the cold weather and seasonal rains arrived. In late April or early May, 2013, [Whidbey's co-owner] and I spoke about the heaters. About March 19 , [Whidbey's co-owner] inspected the house. She observed the lack of heat. I wrote a letter to Whidbey on March 18, 2013. The letter addressed the lack of heat. Around that time, the owner informed me that he was aware of the issues with the heaters. Previously, on March 15 , I had notified Whidbey of issues, including the lack of heat. On or about March 5-6 , I spoke with [Whidbey's co-owner]. We discussed inter alia, the heat. There were a lot of phone calls back in March. The heat almost always came up. There were numerous discussions about the heat in February, 2013, mostly with your predecessor, [Whidbey's employee]. [Whidbey's co-owner], too, though, knew about the heaters. At the end of January, 2013, [Whidbey's employee] inspected the premises. She observed the lack of heat. I believe the painters informed Whidbey that the heaters were not functioning in/about mid-January . [Whidbey's employee] and I discussed the heaters in early January, 2013. Maybe around December 31, 2012, she and I discussed the lack of heat. Earlier, around December 18-20, 2012, when I first visited the house, [Whidbey's employee] assured us the heaters would be fixed. The owner was at the house at that time. It was probably then that he observed the lack of heat. Nothing has substantially changed, except to be a bit worse. The second floor has heat in only one room, instead of two. The “bonus” room has no heat. The master bedroom heater is unusable. And the heater in the master bedroom bathroom is, shall we say, erratic. It might be a good idea to have all the wall heaters inspected to ensure they are properly working.
A detailed response. Whidbey had full knowledge of numerous inoperable wall heaters and failed to act, and now Whidbey is denying that knowledge in writing. Feigning ignorance of inoperable wall heaters, like lying about pulling a gun on roofers, is an act of bad faith and an unethical business practice.
It is not true that “this last time they brought in their letter, she made it clear that they would be moving out at the end of the month because they didn't want another rent increase for what they felt was a subpar house for the price.” Every word of this is a lie. Nothing was said about rent increases. The tenants had no knowledge of a pending rent increase. Nor was anything said about moving out.
On October 2, 2015, a written repair request was handed to a Whidbey employee, who accepted it with a jocular remark that he would be sure to “file” the request (a remark that was taken to mean he intended to ignore the request). And, indeed, as Whidbey admits, the request was put in a “file” and ignored. A landlord “will at all times during the tenancy keep the premises fit for human habitation, and shall in particular: […] Provide facilities adequate to supply heat and hot water as reasonably required by the tenant[.]” Wash. Rev. Code. §59.18.060(11). Whidbey had a duty to repair the heaters “at all times,” so Whidbey had a duty to commence repairs in October. Ignoring repair requests and lying about it, like lying about pulling a gun on roofers, is an act of bad faith and an unethical business practice.
Whidbey confirms the rental was “a subpar house for the price.” Whidbey's response to the BBB complaint annexed a “Move-in/Move-out Inspection” form. Included under “general comments” is the following, “Roof needs to be replace. [sic] Lots of moss.” Under maintenances, it includes, “Roof cleaning...I cannot find any evidence of a roof leak anywhere on the inside of the house. Some of the heaters are not working.” Whidbey received written requests for the repair of the roof, including moss removal, and repair of the inoperable wall heaters. These requests were acknowledged and ignored, repeatedly. Whidbey has confirmed the need for roof repairs, the removal of moss, sought to find the source of the leak, and acknowledged the existence of inoperable wall heaters, after the tenants vacated. It is a breach of the lease and the Landlord-Tenant Act to ignore written repair requests, and, like lying about pulling a gun on roofers, it is highly unethical to breach the lease and the state statute governing property management and then investigate and confirm the defects after the tenant vacates.
This is a confusing statement, “When Jim M***** went to clean carpets, he said the only heaters he noticed weren't working were the two upstairs that Mark S******* fixed for us right away. Jim said he wouldn't clean the carpets until those two heaters were repaired.” Jim M***** owns the Americlean Carpet Company, the carpet cleaning service that cleaned the carpets after the tenants vacated according to Whidbey's invoice. Does this statement refer to when the tenants vacated? If so it confirms our claim that two upstairs wall heaters were inoperable and that Whidbey ignored written repair requests until after we vacated, a breach of the lease and the Landlord-Tenant Act. Mark S******* ought have fixed those heaters “right away” upon receipt of a written request for repairs. Ignoring repair requests, like lying about pulling a gun on roofers, is an act of bad faith and an unethical business practice.
If the above statement does not refer to when Americlean shampooed the carpets after we vacated, this must refer to when Jim earlier visited the house. On March 14, 2013, he inspected the carpets and indeed refused to clean them. But he refused not because of inoperable wall heaters, which he never examined, but because the carpets, carpet padding, and floorboards IN THE ENTIRE HOUSE tested positive for “active” animal feces and urine. You see, Whidbey demised a patently uninhabitable rental to the tenants. Demising an uninhabitable rental with carpets, carpet padding, and floorboards saturated with “active” animal urine and feces, like lying about pulling a gun on roofers, is an act of bad faith and an unethical business practice.
This is also a confusing statement, “Mike T***** noticed that the master bedroom door had been slightly warped due to the heater being located behind the bedroom door and it must have been used by them for a while to cause that door to be warped. It also seemed to work when we turned on the heat when you and I were there.” Whidbey admits it had knowledge the master bedroom wall heater was a fire hazard. Why was it not repaired? Ought not Mark S******* have “right away” fixed the heater. The “you and I” comment appears to refer to a physical inspection of the rental on June 28, 2014. Whidbey's co-owner and the daughter of the owner of the rental inspected the house for over two hours. They saw the damaged door and hazardous heater, and, in fact, Whidbey's co-owner exclaimed, “Oh your father HAS to fix that!” If the heater was a fire hazard, that is bad and it ought have been repaired. That it died and was not repaired when requested, is even worse. Ignoring a fire hazard in a rental, like lying about pulling a gun on roofers, is an act of bad faith and an unethical business practice.
Also, the tenants did not use the heater “for a while” and cause the damage. The damage preceded the tenancy. During a physical inspection in January, 2013, the damaged heater was discussed at length with no other than Mike T***** and Mark “Right Away” S******* of Odd Jobs. Copious notes and digital photographs were taken during that inspection, and they must be among the aforementioned “file” Whidbey maintains. And a written request for repairs dated March 18, 2013, mentions, among other repairs, “The heater in the master bedroom is a fire hazard and needs to be moved or removed” and “The damage to the master bedroom door caused by location proximity to the heater needs to be addressed.” That letter had no fewer than 37(!) items that needed repair, including heaters and moss removal from the roof. Blaming tenants for damaged preceding the initiation of their tenancy and caused by a fire hazard you ignored, like lying about pulling a gun on roofers, is an act of bad faith and an unethical business practice.
Almost nothing written about the roof is true. A roofer did inspect the roof and took photographs of what he declared was a “massive” leak, but all that was done was the spreading of moss killer. No action was taken to halt the ingress of water into the attic. No gun was involved; that is pure libel. Libel is a very serious tort as well as an act of bad faith and an unethical business practice. The libel must be retracted.
Whidbey and Mike T***** must need glasses, if they saw “ZERO signs of any leaks or even past leaks.” The roof leaked because of extensive moss growth and wind damage. It visibly needs repair, even at a cursory glance, something the annexed Move-in Inspection form confirms. This is why we received written assurances on December 20, 2012, when we signed the lease, to have the moss removed. This was not done, of course. The roof leaks in several places. Rainwater entered the attic and pooled in several places. Wood rot was evident where water entered and thickets of black and white mold flourished in the moist environment; the entire attic smelled strongly of mold and mildew. Mold is evidence of moisture entering a structure in Washington State. Westlake View Condo. Assn v. Sixth Ave. View Partners, LLC, 146 Wn. App. 760 (Wash. App. 2008)(Mold growth and roof leak impact habitability.). Exposure to mold toxins is a health hazard recognized in the Landlord-Tenant Act. Wash. Rev. Code. 59.18.060(Finding -- 2005 c 465)(“Exposure to mold, and the toxins they produce, have been found to have adverse health effects, including loss of memory, impairment of the ability to think coherently and function in a job, and may cause fatigue, nausea, and headaches.”). Pictures, unlike Whidbey, do not lie. So a copy of this response is annexed with photographic evidence of the roof leak and the thickets of mold that it sustained in the attic. Lying about roof leaks and mold, like lying about pulling a gun on roofers, is an act of bad faith and an unethical business practice.
The final paragraph is, frankly, an astonishing admission of the selective enforcement of lease provisions, the very basis of our complaint to the BBB. It begins by alluding to the month-to-month lease, but citing the month-to-month lease does not extinguish a landlord's duty to repair. There is no “month-to-month lease” clause exempting a landlord from commencing repairs stipulated by the Landlord-Tenant Act. The law states, “The landlord will at all times during the tenancy keep the premises fit for human habitation” and enumerates specific duties a landlord must do to maintain the habitability, including maintaining the roofs and the heaters. Wash. Rev. Code. Wash. Rev. Code. § 59.18.060(2, 8, 9, 11). The law applies to ALL residential leases, even month-to-month leases. Alluding to a month-to-month lease as an excuse to avoid performing duties at law, like lying about pulling a gun on roofers, is an act of bad faith and an unethical business practice.
Next, Whidbey cites lease provisions for inspection fees and additional cleaning and mentions that the tenants initialed these. The tenants also “initialed” the lease that Whidbey admits it breached. The breached lease contained a covenant to repair, specifically ¶17(k) (“notify immediately in writing of any necessary repairs”). The Landlord-Tenant Act defines what constitutes “necessary repairs” in Washington State and specifically mentions maintaining heaters and roofs. Wash. Rev. Code. Wash. Rev. Code. § 59.18.060(2, 8, 9, 11). But, in its response, Whidbey admits it “assumed” the heaters were repaired and thus ignored written repair requests, repeatedly. This is an admission that Whidbey knowingly and intentionally breached the landlord's duty to repair found in the lease and at law. After admitting it intentionally breached the lease and ignored repair requests, Whidbey then goes on to cite the very same breached lease for inspection fees and cleaning requirements. This is the unethical practice of selective lease enforcement—it is precisely what our complaint was about. Far from refuting our complaint, Whidbey's response confirms it!
Whidbey is admitting to nothing less than than the selective enforcement of lease provisions. It ignored—repeatedly, no less—written requests for repairs stipulated by lease and by state statute only then to enforce selectively lease provisions for inspection fees and additional cleaning to its advantage. Whidbey should return the $975.92 of the security deposit that it has just admitted in writing to retaining wrongfully through the selective enforcement of lease provisions. The selective enforcement of lease provisions, like lying about pulling a gun on roofers, is an act of bad faith and an unethical business practice.
This response is filled with lies and non-truths. Riddled with inaccuracies, it is deceptive and a patent effort at evasion. It was made in bad faith. It confirms the complaint filed with the BBB. And, more importantly, it is libelous. Pulling a gun on a roofer is a serious crime, a crime that was not committed. And, in fact, if it was committed, an ethical property management company would call the police and commence eviction proceedings immediately. That does not appear to be the case, though. Whidbey named names, something the BBB frowns on, and defamation ensued, the reputation of another was harmed by the communication of a false statement in writing. The statement must be retracted in writing. Whidbey's response must not be put on the BBB website, a public forum. The BBB must alter Whidbey's accredited score from the A+ rating it currently enjoys to reflect the bad faith acts unethical business practices herein described. And Whidbey, after admitting in writing to breaching the lease and the Residential-Landlord Tenant Act and the selective enforcement of lease provisions, must return the wrongfully retained $975.92.
The tenant did not complete the items necessary to pass a vacate inspection. That is the only reason why they did not get all of the money back on there security deposit. The carpets were not professional cleaned. The stove was not cleaned/inspected. The keys were dropped into the night drop box over a weekend (we are not open on Saturdays or Sundays) and the tenant was not present during the inspection. The house was not cleaned to the specifications on the cleaning list. The security deposit money was spent on getting the property back to a rent ready condition. The tenant had a $1200.00 deposit.
Prorated rent $88.00
Inspection fee: $50.00
Inv#***** Carpet Cleaning: $380.00
AR Cleaning: $284.00 Items not completed on cleaning list
Pellet Stove Inspection/Cleaning: $173.92
Money Returned to the Tenant: $224.08
Whidbey Residential Rentals (hereafter, Whidbey) must return the wrongfully retained $975.92 of the security deposit. Whidbey has admitted in writing that it ignored written requests for repairs, thereby breaching the landlord's duty to repair under the lease and the Washington State Residential Landlord-Tenant Act. Whidbey has admitted in writing that it selectively enforced lease provisions for inspection fees and cleaning provisions under a lease that it intentionally breached. Whidbey has resorted to making a libelous statement in a patent attempt to discredit a valid claim against its unethical business practices in property management. The Better Business Bureau should alter Whidbey's rating to reflect the unethical business practices Whidbey has admitted it engaged in.
The alleged incident is libel. It never occurred. The annexed letter was never disclosed to the tenants and had it been disclosed, the tenants would have demanded an immediate retraction. A witness was present at the time and an email record contradicting the alleged incident exists. Whidbey must retract the libel.
Whidbey has admitted in writing that it unethically charged the tenants two days prorated rent of $88. The tenancy ran until October 31, 2015, and the tenants returned the keys on that date and were no longer in possession of the rental. Whidbey acknowledges the tenants were no longer in possession of the rental and solely charged the prorated rent because the tenancy happened to end on a weekend when its office was closed. This is an unethical business practice that disadvantages consumers.
The retention of $975.92 of a security deposit for inspection fees and additional cleaning under the breached lease becomes even more unethical in the context of the condition of the rental Whidbey demised. The condition of the rental that Whidbey demised did not meet the “rent ready” standards of the lease move-in conditions. See attached photographs. The rental was patently filthy. Numerous stains were visible on the carpets in the entire house. The carpets emitted increasingly offensive odors and within weeks felt wet to the touch. It was then determined that the carpets, carpet padding, and floor boards in the entire house were saturated with animal feces and urine; the carpets and carpet padding had to be removed and the floor boards sealed in the entire house before new carpets were installed. The baseboard heaters and vacuum coils were filthy with dust and animal hair and rusted from what was soon determined to be exposure to animal urine and feces. There was what was later determined to be dried animal feces and dried urine in/on the floor vents. The sliding glass doors were filthy with dust, mold, and mildew, and the tracks contained dead insects, animal hair, and what was later determined to be dried animal urine and feces. The roof was rotted and covered with moss, a botched effort to remove the moss left a massive pile of moss sitting in front of the residence. The kitchen faucet was filthy, covered with mold, and leaked so badly the sink was unusable; what appeared to be foam sealant where the drainpipe attached to the kitchen sink was in fact a thick ring of white mold that exuded moisture when touched; and there was what appeared to be rotten meat (based on the offensive odor) hanging from a string on the drain pipe. The oven and range unit was filthy; the burners mismatched, filthy, and rusted. Only one burner function properly on the range, and barely at that. The oven was destroyed and 100% unusable. The range vent fan and filter were covered with grease, dust, and animal hair. The pellet stove was so filthy that it was near non-functional; an interior piece of the pellet stove fell off, rendering the pellet stove un-usable. The molding of the pellet stove stand was cracked and falling off. The master bedroom shower leaked. The toilet in the downstairs hallway bathroom leaked and had rotted the bathroom floor. The drain in the upstairs shower was broken; a bathmat held it in place. The gutters were clogged and plants grew in them. The exterior of the residence was filthy: the exterior vent grates were damaged; and birds nested in the second-floor bathroom vent and their excrement was visible on the house exterior. The front storm door lacked screens and properly fitting windows, and it was damaged and improperly hung. The front door was filthy. All the windows, window sills, and window tracks were filthy with dirt, mold, dead insects, and animal hair. The front porch was filthy with dirt, mold, and mildew. The back patio was unstable and rocked when stepped on. The septic tank covers were loose, and it was soon determined that the pump timer was non-functional and the tank near over flowing. Electrical sockets in the master bedroom, second floor “living space,” and upstairs bathroom were non-functioning. The interior walls and baseboards were filthy with visible animal hair and what was eventually determined to be dried animal urine and feces. There were numerous holes in the walls. The banister in the stairwell to the second floor was splintered and busted. Light switch covers and electrical outlet covers were filthy, or cracked, or missing. The heaters in the “bonus” room and second floor “living” space were non-functional. The master bedroom electric heater posed a serious fire risk and had burnt the adjacent door. The ceilings were filthy with stains and covered in cobwebs. There was filth and garbage (soiled paper towels, miscellaneous items, etc) in the cabinets and drawers in the kitchen and bathrooms. The kitchen cabinets were water damaged and lacked handles and hinges. Several kitchen cabinet doors were broken, improperly hung, or missing. The blinds and drapes were filthy and stunk of animal excrement: deemed unsanitary, they were removed. The inside and outside of the refrigerator needed cleaning. The top shelf on the refrigerator door needed replacement. The kitchen and bathroom sinks were filthy and damaged. The sinks in both downstairs bathrooms did not drain because of aquarium sand clogging the pipes. All the bathroom fixtures were filthy with mineral stains and mold. The bathroom fixtures were damaged: the knob caps were missing in the downstairs hallway and master bedroom bathrooms; the stopper rod was missing from the sink in the downstairs hallway bathroom. The cabinets in the master bedroom bathroom were water damaged and stunk of mold and mildew. The bathtubs and shower stalls in all the bathrooms contained soap scum, mildew, and mold. The walls, tiles, and ceilings of all the bathrooms were filthy and moldy. Especially thick black mold grew on the walls and fixtures of the downstairs hallway bathroom. Black mold grew in the master bedroom shower. The bathroom mirrors, cabinets, and drawers were filthy. Toilet paper holders and a toilet flush rod were missing and/or broken. The shelves in all the closets were dusty and damaged. All the light fixtures in the entire house were filthy; many contained dead insects. The light fixture in the “bonus” room was broken. Some light fixtures were missing. There were numerous missing or burnt-out light bulbs. The non-carpeted floors were filthy and water damaged, especially in the downstairs hallway bathroom and the “muck” room. There was garbage in the small and large sheds. And there was garbage in the yard, including: a pile of rotten pallets and wood that the tenants were told to burn; several black plastic bags filled with household garbage; numerous toys for children and dogs; a rusted machete, a bike frame, and no fewer than a two dozen beer bottles piled up next to the picnic table. This was the condition of a “rent ready” rental that Whidbey demised.
Obviously no reasonable person would rent a house in this condition. Whidbey, however, promised swift repairs and even put those assurances in writing. Whidbey did not meet its promises.
By any reasonable standard, the rental was not “rent ready” when Whidbey demised it. To the contrary, it was filthy with numerous patent defects that breached the lease move-in form and the Landlord-Tenant Act and rendered it uninhabitable. Whidbey knew about the uninhabitable condition of the rental, because it inspects rental units after tenants vacate and charges $50 for this service, and the numerous defects in the house were readily discoverable by a reasonable inspection. Nonetheless, Whidbey listed, let, and demised the filthy and uninhabitable rental. The tenants made a reasonable effort to return the rental in a clean condition—a far cleaner condition than the “rent ready” rental Whidbey demised to them. Whidbey had no problem demising a patently filthy and uninhabitable rental, and now charges the tenants for inspection and cleaning fees that it never afforded them at the initiation of the tenancy, based on a lease it intentionally breached. This is hypocrisy, and yet another example of Whidbey engaging in the unethical enforcement of selective lease provisions, a business practice that disadvantages consumers.
Whidbey Residential Rentals lists its rentals on a website (www.whidbeyrentals.com) that boasts, “We are a professional knowledgeable, and courteous property management company. We work very hard to provide the highest quality resident services you'll ever experience.” Whidbey's accreditation and A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau assure tenants of that promise. However, the complaint filed with the BBB, and Whidbey's responses to it, describe and document unethical business practices falling short of the “highest quality” property management by any reasonable standard. Whidbey has admitted in writing that it ignored written requests for the repair of a leaking and moldy roof and inoperable wall heaters, intentionally breaching the lease and the Landlord-Tenant Act. Whidbey has acknowledged in writing that the repair requests were reasonable, having repaired heaters on the recommendation of a carpet cleaner after the tenants vacated and finding that the “roof needs to be replace. [sic]” Whidbey admits in writing it selectively enforced lease provisions for inspection fees and additional cleaning found in the lease it breached. Whidbey has made libelous statements in a patent effort to discredit a valid complaint. Moreover, Whidbey demised a patently filthy and uninhabitable rental with numerous defects, including carpets, carpet padding, and floorboards saturated in animal urine and feces. The BBB should alter Whidbey's rating to reflect its unethical business practices so that consumers may be better informed. Whidbey must retract the libel and return the wrongfully retained $975.92 of the security deposit.