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Flooring Question

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Old 06-18-2013, 06:34 PM   #16
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Re: Flooring Question

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Originally Posted by Daseal View Post
Should we be more aggressive as JR pointed out. Mentioning we will be obtaining legal counsel, but would rather eliminate this issue immediately.
JR knows his stuff, take his advice. Hey, maybe he'll throw you a Pro Bono Publico?
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Old 06-18-2013, 10:15 PM   #17
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Re: Flooring Question

So... this is what we went with for anyone interested. Thoughts!

I have been advised to reject your offer and believe that the charges are both unfair and unfounded. The damage to the floor in the hallway is minor and can be repaired. Additionally, I believe that damage was caused due to lack of proper maintenance to the HVAC system in the adjacent room. We contacted maintenance personnel from The Renaissance and they suggested that type of damage is only consistent with an issue with persistent moisture. Lastly, there were already existing conditions with the floor before my arrival. The wood in front of the fireplace is discolored and there was scratching around the outside of the power outlet previous to my arrival.

Furthermore, during our official walk through and surrender of all keys, fobs, and parking passes, there was no mention of any damage to the property, with the exception of painting costs. I was of the understanding we had a verbal agreement and that the security deposit, less painting costs, would be returned.

As a courtesy I have provided you with this document before filing. Unless the security deposit ($1900.00), less $250.00 for painting, is returned I will be filing a complaint. Please be aware that due to VA law treble damages can be awarded for wrongfully withholding security deposits. I genuinely hope we can find a fair and amicable solution to our dispute.
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Old 06-19-2013, 09:52 AM   #18
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Re: Flooring Question

Sounds good but I would have added that you had done nothing to the floor to cause that damage.
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Old 06-24-2013, 07:26 PM   #19
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Re: Flooring Question

Reviving this thread for another round of advice. Been discussing this with a few people, but I like to get a broad range of opinions. Thanks to everyone who has helped me through some of the difficult parts of this... adventure (JR, TMC, GMAN).

TL;DR: We asked for some critical details such as pictures, names, etc and were sent an ambiguous e-mail that did not respond to a single question. Not sure of my next step!

Now that I've given a synopsis, they've offered us a lot of one-sided 'deals' to which we've fought back. We asked for them to provide the following:
  • Pictures of damage before/after.
  • Current hardwood in apartment
  • Name of company and contractor who gave the quote
  • Copy of the quote
  • Type of hardwood going into the apartment in quote
  • Ability to have a contractor, of our choose, assess the situation

We talked to multiple contractors that said patching would be no issue at all. However, all of them wanted to see anything before saying anything official. Their response was as follows:
Quote:
We received your email and understand that you do not want to accept or consider the original offer, which of course is fine.
Therefore, we are further looking into the matter and handling it in a fair manner.

You will hear from us and/or our representative by the deadline that we have according to VA Law which we have looked into, 45 days from when we received the keys to provide a written statement regarding the deposit. Please note that when there are repairs to be made, an additional 15 days is allowed according to VA Law.

You will receive a written statement including a detailed list of any deductions along with any remaining deposit if this applies.
After that point, you may decide to proceed as you wish.
Their response seems to fail to answer any of our questions or portray really anything. We're not sure how to proceed. I believe the landlord has also moved. We're thinking of sending an e-mail asking them to please collect our requested information and provide their address. At that point, I believe we will file a claim to mediation, and if nothing comes of that we will have to 'lawyer up' and go to court. I'd rather avoid the 250/hr if possible, but it may not be possible. I hope we can recover our lawyers' fees if we end up winning.

We also found the following clause in the VA tenant landlord act:
Quote:
3. Permit a tenant or his authorized agent or attorney to inspect such tenant's records of deductions at any time during normal business hours.

C. Upon request by the landlord to a tenant to vacate, or within five days after receipt of notice by the landlord of the tenant's intent to vacate, the landlord shall make reasonable efforts to advise the tenant of the tenant's right to be present at the landlord's inspection of the dwelling unit for the purpose of determining the amount of security deposit to be returned. If the tenant desires to be present when the landlord makes the inspection, he shall so advise the landlord in writing who, in turn, shall notify the tenant of the time and date of the inspection, which must be made within 72 hours of delivery of possession. Upon completion of the inspection attended by the tenant, the landlord shall furnish the tenant with an itemized list of damages to the dwelling unit known to exist at the time of the inspection.
Which we read as their responsibility to make us aware of any damage to the apartment, in writing, at time of the walk through. Considering they claim that there was substantial floor damage, in a heavily travelled hallway, there is no excuse not to mention it during the walkthrough. During the walkthrough they only talked about painting the apartment, which we had already discussed, in writing, prior to the walkthrough.

Thanks in advance for the advice. It's been quite stressful lately.
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Old 06-24-2013, 10:35 PM   #20
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Re: Flooring Question

You told me today they said they have more time than that. That makes no sense, what's to keep anyone from damaging a place after the fact and charging you later? This whole thing is so shady.
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Old 06-24-2013, 11:47 PM   #21
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Re: Flooring Question

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You told me today they said they have more time than that. That makes no sense, what's to keep anyone from damaging a place after the fact and charging you later? This whole thing is so shady.
They have more time to return the deposit. 45 days goes to 60 if there are any damages, which we can count the mutually agreed upon painting as part of for that.
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Old 06-25-2013, 11:04 AM   #22
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Re: Flooring Question

I worked in the flooring business for a while (on the accounting side but I still learned a lot).

It doesn't sound like that flooring was installed properly, more specifically, the wrong underlayment and concrete probably wasn't prepped properly. If you're installing any type of wood or laminate over concrete, you need to do some waterproofing and use a barrier that will prevent concrete's natural moisture from touching the wood. Warping is a sign that the install wasn't done correctly. These types of floors are typically not glued down either. I bet they glued it right to the concrete.

I'd get a good flooring contractor to look at it for you. They should not be charging you for this damage because it doesn't sound like you caused it.

I'd even question the painting of the walls. Don't most landlords paint after every tenant anyway to freshen it up for a new move-in?
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Old 06-25-2013, 01:25 PM   #23
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Re: Flooring Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daseal View Post
Reviving this thread for another round of advice. Been discussing this with a few people, but I like to get a broad range of opinions. Thanks to everyone who has helped me through some of the difficult parts of this... adventure (JR, TMC, GMAN).

TL;DR: We asked for some critical details such as pictures, names, etc and were sent an ambiguous e-mail that did not respond to a single question. Not sure of my next step!



Now that I've given a synopsis, they've offered us a lot of one-sided 'deals' to which we've fought back. We asked for them to provide the following:
  • Pictures of damage before/after.
  • Current hardwood in apartment
  • Name of company and contractor who gave the quote
  • Copy of the quote
  • Type of hardwood going into the apartment in quote
  • Ability to have a contractor, of our choose, assess the situation
We talked to multiple contractors that said patching would be no issue at all. However, all of them wanted to see anything before saying anything official. Their response was as follows:


Their response seems to fail to answer any of our questions or portray really anything. We're not sure how to proceed. I believe the landlord has also moved. We're thinking of sending an e-mail asking them to please collect our requested information and provide their address. At that point, I believe we will file a claim to mediation, and if nothing comes of that we will have to 'lawyer up' and go to court. I'd rather avoid the 250/hr if possible, but it may not be possible. I hope we can recover our lawyers' fees if we end up winning.

We also found the following clause in the VA tenant landlord act:


Which we read as their responsibility to make us aware of any damage to the apartment, in writing, at time of the walk through. Considering they claim that there was substantial floor damage, in a heavily travelled hallway, there is no excuse not to mention it during the walkthrough. During the walkthrough they only talked about painting the apartment, which we had already discussed, in writing, prior to the walkthrough.

Thanks in advance for the advice. It's been quite stressful lately.
Send them a certified letter with those questions and concerns you have so you have record of them receiving the request. They are stringing you along and hoping your just give up.

Funny thing is I'm now waiting for our deposit from the lady we rented from while waiting for our house to be built. The home was beat to hell so we took loads of pictures which the wife loaded on our computer that crashed and pics lost.
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Old 06-25-2013, 07:08 PM   #24
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Re: Flooring Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Monkeydad View Post
I worked in the flooring business for a while (on the accounting side but I still learned a lot).

It doesn't sound like that flooring was installed properly, more specifically, the wrong underlayment and concrete probably wasn't prepped properly. If you're installing any type of wood or laminate over concrete, you need to do some waterproofing and use a barrier that will prevent concrete's natural moisture from touching the wood. Warping is a sign that the install wasn't done correctly. These types of floors are typically not glued down either. I bet they glued it right to the concrete.

I'd get a good flooring contractor to look at it for you. They should not be charging you for this damage because it doesn't sound like you caused it.

I'd even question the painting of the walls. Don't most landlords paint after every tenant anyway to freshen it up for a new move-in?
In regards to the moisture question, we believe the AC unit caused water damage. This building constantly has units with flooding happening, often due to the AC units getting backed up.

We asked them to allow us to have a contractor, of our choice, to evaluate the situation and that response was ignored. I talked to quite a few flooring guys and all of them felt confident they could patch the area and it may not look perfect since the rest of the floor is 8 years old, but wouldn't stick out like a sore thumb.

We're definitely looking at the certified letter, FD. Will make a decision tonight.

Thanks, as always, for your input everyone. It really does help to get multiple opinions when going through a stressful event.
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Old 06-25-2013, 10:59 PM   #25
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Definitely send the certified letter. In it, set out what you have asked them to do and when you asked them to do it. If possible, attach copies of your previous requests. Tell them what you are seeking now and ask for a response for a date certain. Don't threaten any legal action if they fail to comply just something along the lines of "we will explore our options on how to proceed". If they don't provide an answer (don't expect one), wait until they give you a final refusal to return the deposit (which they will, don't kid yourself into thinking this will resolve itself), then file for the mediation.

Understand, they have no legal obligation to do anything unless it is spelled out in the lease or by statute. If the lease does not require them to let you mitigate or provide the name of the contractor, etc., they don't have to do so. What you need to be doing is play for the end goal of having a court or mediator find them unreasonable in their claim for damages. Keep good records of all communications. Always emphasize you are simply seeking compliance with the lease terms and State laws.

They are playing hardball and being assholes. Use that to your advantage by making simple and reasonable requests. Quote the lease where possible. Don't let the stress show and get your mind set for a drawn out affair. (Not saying it will be, but it has the potential so prepare yourself for that contingency).
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Old 07-17-2013, 09:32 PM   #26
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Re: Flooring Question

We've had a development in the case! The landlord sent us a package saying that they would be deducting 250 for painting and 375 for floor repair, but returning the remainder of the deposit.

They said they had someone inspect the AC unit and there was no leak (however we thought it was more to do with the drain area than the unit itself) but they could buff and resand or something along those lines.

The mediator from the county suggested we request all receipts and quotes before accepting anything. My girlfriend and I also have different ideas as to if we should accept it or not. I believe we should accept it because the mental anguish, stress, and potential for having to pay significantly more outweigh still feeling as if we did nothing wrong. She see's it more of an 'on principle' type fight.

What does the gallery think?
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Old 07-18-2013, 01:05 AM   #27
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Old 07-18-2013, 11:28 AM   #28
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Re: Flooring Question

I'd still fight that floor portion. You did not cause the damage.
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Old 07-18-2013, 12:38 PM   #29
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Re: Flooring Question

Well, I certainly would request the quotes, receipts, etc. Once you have them, find a flooring guy and painter who will give you a lower written estimate based on the numbers/info provided. Take those numbers back to the property owner and ask them, in writing, to match your numbers because: (1) No proper walk through was done so you still dispute the flooring issue entirely; and (2) Painting costs excessive and had only agreed to original numbers for settlement purposes. Now, b/c they are contesting flooring, your original offer on painting is off the table as it is also your belief that the repainting is simply reasonable wear for which you are not responsible.

If it was me, I would make one more solid push and give them a low number ($300 for everything) based on some estimates. Try for a good "split the difference" number by lowballing. See what they come back with. If they knock a few more bucks off, take it and call it a day unless you want to start spending money to get less back (i.e. it's the principle of the thing). Right now they are w/holding $625.00. If they come back in the $400-$500 range, I can see you spending that much just to retain an attorney - that's ~3 to 4 hours work at $125/hr (which is a pretty reasonable rate in Baltimore, may be much more in Northern VA).

Do as much as you can on your own and with the help of the mediator. Admit nothing. Contest everything - and have facts, documents and evidence to back yourself up. Every moment you make them work is another moment they need to spend money to hold onto money. If you were actually to file a pro se suit, they would need to pay their attorney to show up. Just as you are doing a cost analysis. So are they.

At the same time, they aren't stressing. At all. They are counting on the fact that you are. Push, push, push for the best deal and spend as little as possible. Send the request for the receipts certified. Indicate you are simply trying to verify costs and, as always, are simply seeking a reasonable resolution to the issue. Never let them see you sweat. Always convery calmly but firmly that you are simply trying to reasonably resolve an issue in matter where you believe you have done no wrong but have been denied a real opportunity to contest that wrong by their violation of the notice/walk through laws.

Write every letter not just for them but also for the judge to read later.

W/out threatening, let them know in every letter you write (remember the judge is also reading this) that you believed you are wronged and will fight this matter on principle - even if you have to spend some money to do so. Give them good factual and legal grounds for them to believe that you will go further. At same time, always end with an expressed desire to resolve it reasonably for an amount that is fair.

Then take the money and run ... They will never return the entire deposit without a court order and, to get that order, you will spend good money for an uncertain result.
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Last edited by JoeRedskin; 07-18-2013 at 12:44 PM.
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Old 07-22-2013, 10:19 AM   #30
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Re: Flooring Question

I know you looked into it but what is the time line the landlord has for returning the deposit? I've been waiting for our deposit now for over a month and if I'm correct its suppose to be return within 30 days
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