Apr 3, 2006

The BLS v. EPMC

As previously stated, I spent my Spring Break vacation moving. Although I still can't find my kitchen without tripping over boxes, Casa de BLS is looking a little more organized every day. I was surprised by a couple of things that came up during the move, however. While I found my week "off" of blogging a little refreshing, I was shocked about how badly I wanted to do it. Let's face it: I'm a blogging addict, y'all. Another thing that was a bit surprising: Evil Property Management Company are BASTARDS. (Okay, given the way they decided to not renew my lease, that's NOT surprising at all.)

After moving out of my Old Apartment, I got to cleaning it. I knew that EMPC was going to be a tough sell as far as getting my security deposit back, so I put on a tough face and cleaned my butt off. I think I estimated that I spent at least 12 hours in the apartment cleaning. (I should add right here that I was employed by a professional housekeeper throughout high school and when I clean, I can put Merry Maids to shame.) Before I turned my keys into EMPC, they were supposed to give the apartment an inspection. They came in and performed their inspection, leaving me a note of what I needed to do before I turned my keys in. EMPC stated that I needed to re-clean EVERYTHING. They are listing things that should be construed as "ordinary wear and tear" as "damage." (When I say that, I mean that they are listing chipped shelves and NAIL HOLES in the wall as damage.) Basically, they are money-grubbing thieves that are going after every cent of my deposit.

I'll admit it: The "inspection" notes made me cry. I'm a freaking type-A who gives 100% at everything she does (with the curious exception of law school) and I have an excellent record of getting deposits back from previous renters. I have rented apartments for almost 10 years and have ALWAYS gotten my deposits refunded to me. For them to tell me that I severely damaged the apartment, along with doing a shoddy job of cleaning it, was the equivalent of a slap in the face. For a minute, I wanted to tell them to stick their "inspection" where the sun don't shine, but Kitrah convinced me to go over the apartment a second time, shrewdly pointing out that if I fail to attempt to remedy their problems, I could forfeit ALL of my deposit. She assisted me (as she's as obsessive about cleaning as I am) and we cleaned the apartment a second time (with the amusing addition of bleach. I despise cleaning with bleach, but Kitrah excellently pointed out that the smell of bleach = clean.) I took pictures of the apartment and the alleged "damage" that I caused, and I went back with a camcorder and recorded the condition that I left the apartment in.

When I turned my keys in, I asked them who performed the inspection. EMPC told me it was their "Inspection Manager." In pure Bulldog form (while maintaining politeness), I stated that their inspection listed ordinary wear and tear as damages and that I planned to contest it vigorously. The rental agent tried to give me the run-around, stating that I needed to contest the deductions they take from my deposit in writing. After politely informing her that I was a law student and knew how to contest things in writing, she started singing a different tune. By the time I left EMPC's office, they were all but kissing my legal butt.

I should add that I hate doing this. I hate mentioning that I'm a law student in order for people to treat me properly. But I hate the fact that what EMPC is doing is wrong. They are trying to make money by jacking as much of the security deposit as possible from their tenants, and that's wrong. I'm angry on so many different levels. I'm angry that they are doing this to me, but I'm angered MORE by the fact that they've done it in the past to people who didn't know their rights under my State's Landlord-Tenant Act. I know they've swindled previous residents, and I'm not going to let them do it to me. If I have to, I'll take it to small claims court. From researching my State's Landlord-Tenant laws, I've learned that the burden of proof is on the landlord to prove that I caused the damages. I'm confident that I can show the "damages" they are talking about are ordinary wear and tear, given the fact that I lived in the Old Apartment for 2.5 years.

The keys are in. The photos have been taken. The camcorder has shot the video of the apartment. Is this the end of The BLS v. EMPC?

Stay tuned.

12 Comments:

At April 03, 2006 10:25 AM, Blogger LawNut said...

You go, girl! I've been through a similar situation, and sounds like you're doing all the right stuff with the video and pics...if nothing else, it will hopefully intimidate them into returning what is rightfully yours.
What a bunch of jerks!

 
At April 03, 2006 11:08 AM, Blogger HMC said...

Good luck with your pursuit of justice. I hate having to deal with things like this too. Why can't people just be honest? Is that so hard?

 
At April 04, 2006 9:59 AM, Anonymous LisaBinDaCity said...

Miss BLS,

That is the precise reason why many landlords in New York will not rent to lawyers! Although I am sure you were correct that it was normal wear and tear.

Glad you went after them killer! Hehe ;-)

 
At April 04, 2006 11:12 AM, Blogger Earl said...

So BLS,
I promise I'll treat you just as I would if you weren't a lawyer, in person, or on the Internet.
I'll compliment you if you deserve it, tease you if given the opportunity, and tell you when I think you're wrong.
That's proper treatment, don't you think? ;)

 
At April 04, 2006 12:21 PM, Blogger I-66 said...

1) Okay. I'm convinced that you all got your avatars in bulk at Costco.

2) Things sound a lot better when you throw in "legal" ... "kiss my legal butt" sounds better than just "kiss my butt", yesno?

 
At April 04, 2006 2:49 PM, Blogger Kitrah said...

The landlords in this neck of the woods are known for bastardly conduct. My last one called a woman in the building ignorant and dirty (as well as accusing her of bringing bedbugs into the place). This was due to the fact that she was from South America and couldn't speak English perfectly. I wanted to kill.

No worries, BLS. I'll go to bat for you should the need arise.

 
At April 04, 2006 7:27 PM, Blogger D.T. said...

YAY BLS!

I'm like so proud of the way you handled the situation! You were strong, you were succinct, and you stood up for yourself. And that says a lot about a person, lawyer or not.

So how's the new place?

 
At April 05, 2006 1:27 PM, Blogger Legally Intoxicated (Retired) said...

Way to go. I love pulling out the JLB (Junior Lawyer Badge) on assholes who deserve it. If they fuck you, send them a formal, threatening letter quoting some statutory or case law, with full Bluebook-format citation. They'll cave.

 
At April 06, 2006 8:42 PM, Blogger TLG said...

I've NEVER gotten a deposit back... and believe me, I've FOUGHT with them. One time they didn't give it back because we "broke the lease." Y'know, cuz we asked them repeatedly to get rid of the roaches. They'd come and spray with their stupid stuff, which did NOTHING. You can only live for so long with everything you own in plastic bags. Bastards. Next guy just disappeared. I gave him our address to return all or part of the thing, and never heard from him, his number's disconnected. I just look at "deposits" as "senseless wastes of money" now. It's sad that those types can bully you if you're not in a position to fight back.

 
At April 17, 2006 12:10 PM, Blogger James__Manning said...

Crying? There ain't no crying in damage deposits!

Or lawsuits. You'll make one weak lawyer if you cry over bastard landlords. Any lawyer worth a damn would have your sweet guts for garters in a minute's time.

Jeez, find another line of work before your potential clients suffer the likes of you!

Gawdawmighty! Crying!

You're the LAST lawyer I'd turn to!

 
At May 17, 2006 8:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not sure about your state, but in CA, nail holes in the walls are NOT considered normal wear and tear. You need to fill them with that putty/paste stuff from the hardware store or toothpast if you're on a tight budget. If you don't, and they have to fill them in, they will fir sure deduct that from your SD ad for some reason, it costs them a lot more to buy the putty/paste stuff than it does the tenant.
Go figure!
Just some info for you.

 
At June 01, 2006 8:18 AM, Blogger The BLS said...

Interesting tidbit, anon! What's interesting is that I have a copy of EMPC's check out procedures, and it states NOT to fill the holes with putty or spackle. Personally, I think it's so they can charge me to repaint the apartment (which IS wear and teat) but maybe that's just me.

 

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