FAILURE TO RETURN PROMISED PORTION OF RENTAL APPLICATION FEE
IN FEBRUARY, 2015, I SUBMITTED AN APPLICATION FEE OF $185 WITH THE PROMISE THAT IF I DECIDED AGAINST RENTING THE UNIT, THAT $150 OF THE $185 WOULD BE REFUNDED TO ME. I UNDERSTOOD THAT $35 WOULD BE DEDUCTED AS AN ADM FEE BUT THE REMAINDER OF $150 WOULD INDEED BE REFUNDED. BECAUSE I'M A COLLEGE STUDENT AND WORK PART-TIME, I NEEDED A GUARANTOR. MY PARENTS AGREED TO CO-SIGN ON THE UNIT. MY MOTHER TALKED TO THE OFFICE REP, ******* ****** AT LENGTH ALSO VERIFYING WITH HER THAT THE $150 APPLICATION FEE WOULD BE REFUNDED IF THE LEASE DID NOT GO FORWARD AND SIGNATURES NEVER EXECUTED. MY MOTHER LOANED THE APPLICATION FEE TO ME TO SECURE THE UNIT. WHEN I SUBMITTED THE APPLICATION FEE ALONG WITH THE APPLICATION ITSELF, I STATED THAT I DID HAVE A 15 YEAR OLD BASSETT HOUND (DOGS WERE ALLOWED WITH A DEPOSIT) AND *** ****** STATED THAT THE ANIMAL DEPOSIT WOULD BE $185 WHICH I AGREED TO. HOWEVER, WHEN I WENT BACK IN TO FINALIZE THE LEASE, *** ****** STATED THAT THE DEPOSIT HAD INCREASED AN ADDITIONAL $200 TO A TOTAL OF A $385 PET DEPOSIT. SHE FURTHER STATED THAT IF THE CARPET HAD STAINS ON IT WHEN I MOVED OUT, THAT I WOULD BE RESPONSIBLE FOR REPLACING THE CARPET. SHE STATED THAT UPON MY MOVING OUT OF THE APARTMENT THAT THE CARPET WOULD BE PULLED BACK TO SEE IF THERE WERE ANY STAINS UNDER THE CARPET. AS I HAD ALREADY LOOKED AT THE UNIT I WOULD BE RENTING, I TOLD HER THERE WERE ALREADY STAINS ON THE CARPET AND IF THEY PLANNED TO PULL THE CARPET BACK WHEN I MOVED OUT THAT I WANTED THE CARPET PULLED BACK BEFORE I MOVED IN TO MAKE NOTE OF ANY STAINS ALREADY THERE SO THAT I WOULDN'T BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEM. SHE SAID THEY COULDN'T DO THAT. AT THAT POINT, I REALIZED IT WASN'T GOING TO WORK AND THAT MY PARENTS WOULD NOT AGREE TO BE A GUARANTOR DUE TO THE NEWLY EXTENUATING REQUIREMENTS AND FEES. BY THEIR OWN WRITTEN APPLICATION, WITHOUT A GUARANTOR, MY INCOME WOULD NEGATE ME FROM EVEN BEING CONSIDERED AS A LESSEE. THEY SHOULD HAVE REFUNDED MY FEE RIGHT THEN. HOWEVER, *** ****** SAID THAT I WOULD NEED TO TURN IN A PROOF OF INCOME SHOWING THAT MY INCOME WAS TOO LOW TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR ACCEPTANCE BY AG RENTALS, THAT MY $150 WOULD BE RETURNED WITHIN 30 DAYS ONCE THAT PROOF OF INCOME WAS RECEIVED. SHE ***NEVER*** GAVE ME A DEADLINE TO SUBMIT THE PROOF OF INCOME. IT HAD TO COME FROM MY CORPORATE OFFICE AND I KNEW IT WOULD TAKE AT LEAST 10-14 DAYS TO GET THE FORM BACK. I DID GET THE FORM AND DROPPED IT OFF PERSONALLY THRU THEIR DOOR DROP BOX. I CAN SEND YOU A PHOTO OF THE ENVELOPE WITH THE NOTATION ON THE OUTSIDE AS TO WHO IT SHOULD GO TO AND THAT IT WAS MY PROOF OF INCOME. I TOOK A PICTURE OF IT WITH MY PHONE BEFORE DROPPING IT OFF SINCE I WASN'T SENDING IT BY REGISTERED MAIL. THIS WAS DONE ON 3/19/15 WHICH WAS IN A TIMELY MANNER. (THERE WAS AN ERROR ON THE DATE ON THE OUTSIDE AS I HAD JUST BEEN TO A FUNERAL AND ACCIDENTALLY PUT 5/19/15 RATHER THAN 3/19/15 BUT THE PHOTO OF THE DOCUMENT WILL VERIFY THAT IT WAS TAKEN ON 3/19/15 AND I CAN ALSO PROVIDE PROOF OF THE FUNERAL). AS THE 30 DAYS HAD WELL PASSED, I CONTACTED THE OFFICE TWO DAYS AGO ASKING WHY I HAD NOT RECEIVED THE $150. *** ****** SAID THAT SHE HAD SENT ME AN EMAIL STATING I HAD 7 DAYS TO SUBMIT THE PROOF OF INCOME. I NEVER RECEIVED AN EMAIL FROM HER NOR DID SHE EVER VERBALLY STATE THAT REQUIREMENT TO ME. IF SHE HAD, I WOULD HAVE EXPLAINED TO HER THAT IT WOULD HAVE BEEN IMPOSSIBLE FOR ME TO GET A PROOF OF INCOME IN THAT SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME BECAUSE OF WHERE MY CORPORATE OFFICE IS. AG RENTALS OWES ME THE $150. IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN RETURNED TO ME AS SOON AS WE BOTH KNEW THE APPLICATION WAS NOT GOING TO GO FORWARD BECAUSE OF THE EXTRA FEES AND THE CARPET STIPULATION. I INTEND TO POST NEGATIVE REVIEWS ON AG RENTALS IN SEVERAL DIFFERENT PLACES WARNING OTHERS NOT TO APPLY OR RENT FROM THIS COMPANY BECAUSE IT'S DISREPUTABLE, HAS A TOTAL LACK OF BUSINESS ETHICS, IS UNPROFESSIONAL AND IS FRAUDULENT. ****** *****
I WANT THEM TO REFUND MY $150 APPLICATION FEE!
Contact Name and Title: ****** ********* - GP
Contact Phone: XXX-XXX-XXXX
Contact Email: *******@agrentalslubbock.com
To Whom It May Concern:
This complete has already been addressed directly to the applicant and his mother. They posted on Yelp that he changed his mind in leasing. After she received the paperwork stating that if you change your mind, the applicant looses the administrative fee; she went back and changed it to state that we failed to approve him. I have provided a copy of all of the paperwork for you and both versions of the Yelp review.
Thank you for your consideration in this matter.
AG Rentals, LTD
Email#1 and 2 combined
I have attached the paperwork that you signed the day that you applied for the apartment home which was February 16, 2015. You (******) signed a contemplated lease that begins on February 24, 2015 which only allowed us a total of 7 business days to receive all of your application paperwork requirements in order to approve your application. We go through the exact same process with every applicant when they decide that they would like to secure an apartment home. As a side note, ******* ******* was the individual in which you signed your application.
One of the first pages that you were asked to sign states that the $35 is an application fee and is completely non-refundable and the $150 administrative fee is $150 and may or may not be refundable.
You were then asked to complete an information page about your pet. On this page, we tell each prospective resident our policy on carpet damage and have them decide if they would like a door with a doggie door installed. This page also explains the cost of carpet should there be pet damage and you signed the form acknowledging that you were aware of this policy the day that you applied for the apartment home. This policy of notifying our applicants of possible costs was recommended at an LAA luncheon with the local Justice of the Peace.
We also gave you a Welcome Home letter that day that lists your new address and what we will need on move in date. The items listed on your sheet are a copy of your renter's policy, a copy of your social security card and a total of $1,520.73. This is broken down on the sheet by pro-rated rent for February $186.40, March Rent $699, Pet Deposit of $500, $85 cleaning fee, $20 Pet Rent, Pro-Rated Rent of $5.33 and an Amenity Key of $25.00 - Total of $1,520.73. The pet deposit is and has only been $500. That is the only pet deposit that we charge and ****** was aware of that the day that he applied for the apartment home. This amount is listed on the Welcome Home letter and on his contemplated lease.
I would like you to note Paragraph 3,7, and 14. All paragraphs have language that states that the application fee is non-refundable and the administrative fee may or may not be refundable. If you withdraw and application or notifies us that you've changed your mind about renting the dwelling unit, we'll be entitled to retain all application deposits as liquidated damages, and the parties will then have no further obligation to each other. This form again states that the application fee is $35 and the administrative fee is $150. We never approved or denied the application within the seven days. We failed to hear from you within 7 days and you failed to move in, therefore you withdrew your application. This is determined because you came into the apartment office, signed paperwork to secure the home for yourself. At that time, we do not allow anyone else to have the home because it is considered yours. This is the reason that we can keep the administrative fee as liquidated damages because your actions prevented us from leasing the apartment home to anyone else. The administrative fee acts as an application deposit and in any business (not just apartments) if you put down money and then change your mind, you lose your deposit money.
After this was sent, we heard nothing until February 24, 2015. ******* spoke to Jerri and she advised that ****** would not be taking the apartment home. She then sent this email to ******* in which she referenced this conversation with you directly. Since your move-in date was February 24, 2015 and we had yet to approve or deny you, just the fact that you did not show up to get your keys or to complete your application shows that you had in fact changed your mind about leasing the home. You also posted on Yelp that you did indeed change your mind rather than were disapproved.(Screen shot is in attachments) This led us to the only logical solution that we could possibly come to which was that you had changed your mind in leasing - which your mother verbally told us as well - and we kept your administrative fee as liquidated damages.
However, ******* was trying to give you another option to receive your fee back and she generously gave you until February 26th @ noon to give us proof of income so that we could deny your application. Until this point, we didn't have any information to approve or deny it and still we received absolutely no answer, no information, nothing at all. In fact, by your own admission it wasn't for almost an entire month later that we received proof of income. The file was already put away in storage by this time.
It appears now that you are trying to take advantage of her generosity and in return falsifying information to the BBB and calling my Hispanic staff racist against themselves and their family's in return. *** ***** these claims are horrendous and should be removed because they are clearly false testimonies. I have not lied to you about anything. I have tried to show you that on multiple forms, your son was told in writing about every fee, every deposit and every policy that we have. ****** was advised of every charge and every procedure from the moment he stepped in our leasing office. He chose to sign everything and now you have your own proof to see that with your own eyes. He was provided a copy of each of these forms on that day as well. When I hear from the BBB that a complaint has been filed, I will forward all of this paperwork to them as well.
Response from *****
After the mother, ***** received my reponse, she sent this to me: If the fee is returned, I will inform the BBB that the issue has been settled and will also remove all other negative reviews which have been placed elsewhere.
I have had no correspondence from the person that actually applied on this matter. I do not see a place to attach the leasing paperwork. I will email that to you at *******@southplains.bbb.org.
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
*** *********, the owner/manager was not present in the office when I went in and filled out the application so she could not know what her office representative actually said. Unfortunately, I relied on was told me by her office representative verbally. I've rented several apartments over the last 15 years. For the most part, rental applications are standard and because property owners do not want to buy new forms, they will give you the form to fill out but then tell you if changes or exceptions have been made to the applications. I admit I was in error. I should have gotten the verbiage in writing and then had the office representative initial it. I took the young woman's word for it on the deposit and even questioned her twice because I knew pet deposits were generally higher. *** ********* is arguing semanics when she charges that I filled out the **** complaint with different wording. Once the guarantor backed out (specifically because of being told that the carpet would be pulled back after I left to see if my dog had left stains but that they refused to pull it back before I moved in to see if there were already stains), both *** ****** and myself knew that the application process could not go forward because I didn't meet the income requirements. It was a mutual agreement. Nothing else was needed. It was a moot point! *** ********* obviously just does not want to refund my deposit and for that reason, I'm not going to change my complaint her or in Yelp and I may continue to post warnings else where as well. In my opinion *** ********* could have easily done the ethical thing and returned my deposit but she has decided to act in an unethical and reasonable manner. Thank you for the opportunity to send a rebuttal. Sincerely, ** *****
Final Business Response
You would have not be made aware to whether or not I was in the office when you were here. My office is in the back and I do not sit up front to deal with prospective residents on a daily basis because of my status within the company. I, however, can hear most everything that occurs within the office. However, none of that matters in this situation.
The *** lease forms are updated on a yearly basis and we print these up to date forms on a weekly basis. All of our policies on pets are given up front which has been praised by multiple local Justices of the Peace. You signed off on these policies before you ever paid an application fee or administration fee. These policies are also posted on our business website and are posted on multiple advertising sources on the internet. There have been no changes in our policies for the past 2 years.
The application also states that that changes may be made in the Lease Contract if agreed to in writing by all parties. We put everything in writing for this very reason. Any prospective or current resident can claim that we said a number of things, everything must be in writing.
As far as AG Rentals acting unethically, I am actually doing the opposite. Fair Housing indicates that we treat everyone the same in every situation. We were advised by your guarantor that you changed your mind and would not be leasing. We even confirmed that information in a aforementioned email conversation between yourself, your guarantor and ******** At that time she said that we were still in the process of approving you, we do have a total of 7 days to do so. At that time, you were advised in writing that in order to actually be disapproved, you would need to provide employment information and you had 24 hours to do so because we had already waited several days for your guarantor information. You acknowledged that and provided it over a month later with the anticipation of receiving your $150. Unfortunately, this was far too late to qualify for a refund which allows for some extension (paragraph 11) but not that long.
*** *****, if I were to return your administrative fee, I would be breaking the law of Fair Housing. We are not in this business to break laws but instead to follow them. We are not allowed to make exceptions and if I were to return your fee, I would be required to return everyone else's fee that leased and then changed their mind. I cannot and will not do that because that is what would be unethical. I realize that your mother is trying to blackmail me into returning your fee by posting information on **** and even claiming that I am racist even though my entire staff is a different ethnicity than I am. I cannot change this outcome so that someone doesn't go online and boast lies. You withdrew your application and there are penalties for that situation. You chose to apply for an apartment making it to where we were unable to lease the home to anyone else for a week before changing your mind. That is why the state has laws to protect landlords from this situation.
I am sorry, this is not personal in any way, it's the law.
AG Rentals, LTD
Final Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
This is ridiculous! Both her agent and I agreed that there was no need to go further. Again, *** ********* is trying to insert semantics in her defense. The conversation was between me and her agent at the counter. The agent and I both agreed that the application process was moot because once her agent told me that they would not pull back the carpet so that I could verify there were no stains but would pull it back after I left and possibly charge me for new carpet in addition to my deposit, I knew I could not provide a guarantor. I can't imagine anyone accepting that type of liability in leasing an apartment. Regarding *** ********* being in the back office, even if she were in the back which I don't believe that she was, is she saying that she listens to every word said at the front desk while she's doing her own work and that she has x-ray eyes so that even if there is a wall between her and whoever is at the front desk that she's able to, without any doubt, know who her agent is talking to??? That's a bit hard to believe. As for breaking the law, her assertion is laughable and embarrassing on her part. First of all, the application process was NEVER COMPLETED because no guarantor was provided (see explanation above)!!! This is a free country and property owners retain rights. One of them being the right to refund application fees to whomever they choose. I have no idea what her previous tenants went through in the process and I doubt that *** ********* would tell me.....so then, how would anyone know if she refunded my application or not? Is she planning to advertise it??? *** ********* is not even making sense at this point and is appearing foolish! I will keep posting in both **** and on ******** list warning people not to rent or fill out any application having to do with this property until and unless *** ********* refunds my full deposit of $185! Before I would have settled for $150 but as *** ********* pointed out in her lease, she has the option to refund the full $185. *** ********* is acting in a very unethical and unprofessional manner and should be avoided at all costs (literally all costs)!