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month-to-month, non-RS apartment damages problem

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month-to-month, non-RS apartment damages problem

Postby MickeyV1 » Sun Feb 17, 2013 7:50 pm

Hi. I'm sorry if this is a long posting, but I hope someone can provide some advice.

Me and my family were living in a 3 bdrm, non-RS apartment (only 3 units) for 9 1/2 years. We paid for our own heat/hot water and the usual utilities, such as electric. We had an annual lease and it was renewed for the next 3 years. It became a month-to-month tenancy for the remaining 5 1/2 years. The LL raised my rent a couple of times during the month-to-month tenure and requested we provide the difference towards the security deposit as well. I said that is not a problem, but requested a copy of the new lease so we could all sign and each have copies. This conversation went on every few months and the secretary at the management office would always say she would give the lease either to the super or mail it to us. Needless to say, over the course of a couple years, this never happened and we never had a lease. They never got the security difference either.

Communication was always a problem with the management company; phone calls were not returned numerous times. Also the "super" (who wasn't so super) would not make repairs when requested, or took a very long time to do it, and did a terrible job at whatever had to be fixed, so that it had be done all over again, but again, that took forever too. Of the 10 or so things we requested repairs for, the only ones that got done ASAP were the emergency type - such as a leaky roof after a severe rain storm, or the leaking fridge from a problem with the coils in the back, or the leaky faucet in the bathroom. Also they never painted, which correct me if I'm wrong, aren't LL's supposed to provide certain maintenance/repairs for long-term tenants, such as paint, routine major appliance maintenance for items that come with the apartment, such as refrigerators and ovens after 5 years? None of this was ever done either.

But they still cashed my rent check each month, month after month, year after year. Then my husband was downsized at his job in late 2009 and money got really tight. Yeah, we had a couple late rent checks, so we tried to work it out with the management company and they agreed to take our rent twice a month. The late charges sat on our account too. But then they still raised the rent again, knowing we were only living on one income and the financial noose was tightening. We really had no choice but to move to a smaller, cheaper apartment in late 2012. We gave the LL the appropriate 30 days' written notice, and because of our financial situation, we asked in writing if we could live out our security deposit and leave mid-month December. Nobody - the LL or the management office - replied or said this was a problem. However, at the last minute, the super said he would not agree to the mid-month move. But because all of the repairs that were never done, we felt were in the right and moved anyway.

After we moved out, we were able to pay them the difference in the security deposit amount up to the full rent amount, and requested this be applied as the last month's full rent (even though we were out mid-month). But because of the all the repairs they claimed had to be made after we left (some legit and probably only worth about $250), they gave us an inflated invoice with repair charges on it with no receipt or breakdown of the cost of the items fixed. For instance, they replaced some cheap hollow closet doors that you can get at Home Depot for $40 but tried to charge us $400. Who are they kidding? They said the total was around $900 and after negotiating with the management office, they took $400, and we were told "that's it" in a phone conversation with the management office.

About 2 weeks later, we get a call from the LL himself and he wanted the rest of the money. My husband was shocked at his request because we were were told that all was settled. So why would they still come back for more, when they never did any of the repairs requested while we were living there (and we had requested them to fix things several times)? Why ask now that we are gone?

What recourse do they have to try to get $500 from us? Small Claims Court? Wouldn't that be such a waste of time for them (and money)?

What documentation would we need to bring with us if they did sue us?
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