Our first issue with this residential company is that we had a water leak where the water comes into the house causing our water bill to go up in excess. The city water credited us half of that excess due to the leak. It took the city calling in to get them to fix and credit us. Ended up being 4 months to get it settled and even then they did not credit their full share. When we moved out our deposit of almost 1100 dollars, only 200 was returned. We had shampooed carpet and cleaned house when we left. Probably better than when we found it.
I believe what I am getting back from deposit is unfair and would like some of it returned. I think I deserve the whole amount. If not at least a fair amount.
Business' Initial Response
With due respect to the tenant, there is a lot that happens behind the scenes that tenants do not see. I see many, many email communications between a leak detection company, our office, companies to bid the repair, the property owner, selection of a company by the property owner to make the repair, a utility locating company before digging, and then trying to get the leak resolved, as it was determined by all to be an extremely difficult leak location. Our records show the tenant called our office on 1.17.13 telling us the City of Beaverton thought there might be an exterior water leak. We immediately asked a leak detection company to investigate, and moved everything forward from there. It takes the company who repaired the leak completing the job and then issuing an invoice, where we can then send it to the City of Beaverton, who then "on their time schedule" will issue a credit. "This all takes time". Once we learn the amount of the credit we can then issue a check to the tenant. A check for the other half was mailed to the tenant on 3.19.13.
Hi Tenant (name removed for privacy),
I've tried to explain below our thinking in performing your move out inspection. We may still disagree on some item, but you have a right to know how we try to determine what is a tenants' responsibility and what is not.
I want to first establish how you received the home. In addition to the move in photos, attached are 2 invoices for work done immediately prior to you moving in. When you receive the photos, please let me know and we can discuss.
Cleaning in the rental business is always a "****** if we do and ****** if we don't" situation, with property owners as well as tenants, as there are "as many" versions of "what clean is" as there are property owners, tenants, and cleaning companies. We have "tried" many cleaning companies over the years, and find the ones who are responsive, will take the time to do a deep clean, have the proper insurance, and who will gladly go back if someone is unhappy with their work, are the companies we continue to use. Because there are so many versions of what clean is, any company can quote low to get you to try them, but what actually are you going to get, and is the tenant "moving in" going to be satisfied with the level of cleaning? With your move in photos and the attached invoices, you can see the level we're trying to attain for a tenant moving in, and honestly, with about 130 tenants moving in every year, we might get one tenant who complains about cleaning "at move in". We then contact the cleaning company and ask them to go back out and take care of the complaint. That's about as good as we can do. Now, what the tenant moving in has to agree to when signing the lease, is to bring it back to that level after they vacate, and we do have tenants who bring it back to a level where we don't have to do anything for a new tenant to move in without complaining. But what we find is many tenants who try to clean the home themselves bring it back 50- 90% of the way there, and we still have to clean or the new tenant will complain. Cleaning deeply is very hard work. And it will probably always remain a "****** if we do and ****** if we don't".
Regarding carpet cleaning, comparing the move in photos of the carpet to the move out carpet photos, it sure doesn't look to me like they were cleaned prior to you giving us possession. Based on our move out inspectors assessment of what he saw while onsite and the move out photos (both carpet and the rest), unless you can somehow convince me otherwise, I have to side with our move out inspector. But please send me what you cleaned at the top of the stairs after moving in.
On the painting question, you do have a valid complaint. There were several walls repainted, but only 2 that our move out inspector thought had "new" damage since you moved in. We try to break out for the contractors when ordering work what should be paid by an owner and what work we believe is tenant responsibility, so when an invoice comes to our office for payment there will be one with tenant charges and another with owner charges. It's a rarity, but once in a while they come with owner and tenant charges on the same invoice. If someone in our office isn't on their toes, they could easily miss that. There is another invoice for painting that you have not seen because it's not your responsibility, and the painting company had 1 gallon on the wrong invoice. We will be sending you 60% of $39.02 or $23.41. The following just describes how we paint and why. Unless the property owner is willing to have "swiss cheese" looking walls at some reflected angles, it is not possible to "touch up" the spackle spots and have the walls look correct. So we paint a wall we've determined to be damaged and stop at the corners or edges. We then pro-rate the expense of painting that one wall over 5 years, under the theory that a property owner is going to repaint inside about every 5 years. So, if a wall had new paint 2 years ago, and you lived there for 1 more year and damaged that wall, what has the property owner lost? 2 years of paint life on that 1 wall, or 2/5ths the cost to repaint that wall. It's splitting hairs, but it's the only "fair" way to handle wall paint.
Regarding the bathroom drain, the first thing we do upon arrival at a home when performing a move out inspection is to walk through the entire home and turn on all faucets and let them run, and flush all toilets. After 10 minutes or so we walk back around and turn the faucets off, looking for slow drains. Regarding Draino, that decision would be up to the plumber we hire as to which would be less expensive, snaking the drain since he's there, or to see if Draino works. We do not diagnose the problem ourselves, we hire professionals in that trade to diagnose and repair.
On the few miscellaneous items left at the property, landlord tenant law does not allow the landlord to make the decision of what to throw away and what to keep. We actually are required to collect, store, and send the abandoned property letter mailed to you on 3.8.13. When there's a new tenant moving into the property immediately, we cannot store the items at the property and need to have the repairmen bring the items to our office for storage. If the tenant doesn't pick the items up by the date on the letter, the landlord can dispose of them and charge the tenant for collecting, moving, and disposing.
I hope the above helps you understand our thoughts, and I'm open to hearing yours. That's as good as I can do.
Residential Property Management, Inc.
XXXXX ** ****** ***** ***** ***
Portland, Oregon XXXXX
Consumer's Final Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
It looks like the business response is just a copy of a email they sent me, just to explain since I never mentioned some of these things in my complaint.
The water leak took 2 months to get fixed as the business shows in their response. During this time I had to put the money up front to pay for a bill that in one case was 500 dollars compared to 50-70 dollar normal bill. In all the City of Beaverton figured I was due 710 dollars total. Half of which they would reimburse and half the owner/property management should be responsible for. Residential Property Management took it upon themselves to give me 50 dollars less than what they were responsible for. I have all the records from the City water.
The photo claim is skewed. The move in photos are taken far more zoomed out than move out. For example the carpet was stained when we moved in at top of first set of stairs. The move in photo of the area is taken from across the room. The Move out is taken directly above and zoomed in.
When it comes to the cleaning if they want to sanitize that is up to them. If a tenant takes the time to clean they should not be charged for full cleaning. The photos arguing we did not cleaned are skewed as well. There are photos zoomed on things and there is no proof it wasn't there when we moved in.
I can understand painting but there were areas when we moved in that were not painted. For example the guest room closet was patched all over with no paint on it. So if I am going to be charged for painting because it is important when renting the home again. It should be that way when I move in. If I hadn't said anything I would have been charged for that third can of paint. Why am I only getting 60 percent back of something I shouldn't have been charged for to begin with? That doesn't make any sense.
I was charged 90 dollars for clearing a sink drain that was not clogged in any way when we moved out. I was had just stated in a previous email that I could clog the drain easily with Drano for much much cheaper.
When it comes to the abandoned property, I understand except for the fact I was given things that were not mine. Things that were at the property when we moved in. Things that were in the move in photos before we moved in.
In conclusion. I am a homeowner whom rents my house out. I do not understand this whole thing. I have kept deposits for breaking a lease but all my tenants have done a decent job at cleaning. I did clean some more to make it more presentable to the next renter but that is my choice and have not charged the previous renter for this.
Business' Final Response
With due respect to the tenant, he first stated it took 4 months to repair the water leak (see "Case Description"), now he claims 2 months, based on the day he called it in to us to the day he received his reimbursement. It did not take 2 months to "repair the water leak". The actual water leak repair was completed on 2.20.13, and there is a lot that happens behind the scenes that tenants do not see for it to take that long. I see many, many email communications between a leak detection company, our office, a plumbing company who started digging where the leak detection company marked the leak location, only to find the leak was not at that location but instead was under the garage floor and much more difficult and expensive to repair, then the need for plumbers to bid the repair, get the bid to the property owner, have her select one of 2 bid options, then the plumbers scheduling a utility locating company before digging, and then trying to get the leak resolved. Our records show the tenant called our office on 1.17.13 telling us the City of Beaverton thought there might be an exterior water leak. We immediately asked a leak detection company to investigate. They made an appointment with the tenant for Monday 1.21.13 at 2:30PM. By 3Pm 1.21.13 the leak was confirmed, and we immediately asked a plumbing company to repair it. Unfortunately, things take longer than someone untrained in plumbing might assume they should. It takes the company who repaired the leak completing the job (completed on 2.20.13) and then issuing an invoice (received by us on 2.27.13), where we can then send it to the City of Beaverton, who then "on their time schedule" will issue a credit (received by us on 3.12.13). The time between 3.12.13 and 3.19.13 was our office trying to make contact with the property owner and discuss the amount of the city credit. Check #XXXXXX was mailed to tenant on 3.19.13.
On 4.11.13 the tenant brought to my attention he believed he received $52 less in water reimbursement from the property owner than he should have received. I then read (a couple of times) what the City of Beaverton had faxed us. The property owner and one of our staff had misinterpreted the writing from the City of Beaverton, and reduced the amount by the "low average" of water usage ($52.00) as the tenant should still pay a "low average" of water usage for the time there was a leak (he shouldn't get free water for the time the leak was being repaired).
Regarding the tenant's claim the photos were skewed, we have presented him with all move in photos taken prior to his moving in. He also received a copy of these photos the day he first signed his lease. There are 186 of them. He is also given and signs his acknowledgement he is given, 2 weeks after he gains possession of the property to add his own photos and move in documentation to our file, which he chose not to do. At move out (after reviewing all 186 move in photos), we simply take photos (close up if needed) of items we believe document tenant damage, including the need for cleaning and carpet cleaning. We think 186 photos and a housecleaning and carpet cleaning invoice for work done immediately prior to the tenant gaining possession tells a pretty good story of condition at move in. It is impossible to take photos at move in of every square inch of a home, "hoping to capture ahead of time and have knowledge of" the items we will need to document at move out, which are unknown at move in.
Item24 of your rental agreement states: The security deposit may be applied to past due rent, cleaning, carpet cleaning, damage to the premises, to remedy any breaches of the agreement. Manager may deduct from security deposit in final accounting all costs for carpet cleaning regardless of length of tenancy or whether tenant cleans the carpet prior to vacating.
Item 7 of your rental agreement states: Manager's definition of clean shall be the final definition.
The reason for item 7 is: it is unfortunately a fact of human nature that the person "paying" for the housecleaning has a "lesser standard" of "cleanliness required" than they do when they're moving in and someone else is "paying".
Regarding painting, you were refunded 60% of one can of paint because that is all you were charged.
You state under "Desired Resolution": I believe what I am getting back from deposit is unfair and would like some of it returned. I think I deserve the whole amount. If not at least a fair amount.
Even though we don't believe you're owed it, we've offered you $200 to settle our differences, with no response from you.
What is: "at least a fair amount?"