Landlord DRAMA

Maybe I should rename this blog “A Buncha Drama” instead?? Here’s the story thus far. It may be TLNR for some, and for that I apologize. Now on to the story…

We were renting a house in Chandler from owners that lived in California, but had a management company here in the Valley. Everything was going swimmingly, until we decided we wanted to be grown-ups and buy our own home.

Our lease has a clause that stated we could end our lease at any time for any reason with 45 days notice and a $1,400 fee. We gave notice July 1st for lease termination on August 14th. In our notice I pointed out the lease clauses and told them all monies would be paid by the 14th. Being the good tenant I am, I paid the August rent on the 1st, saving the fee for the 14th. Apparently, all hell broke loose behind the scenes.

The property manager calls me and leaves a lengthy voice message stating that the owners feel that because we broke our lease (which we were CLEARLY within the parameters which they set to do) they were entitled to all of August rent, even though we were giving up possession halfway through.* He then went on to say because we broke our lease (please see first parentheses in paragraph) they felt they were entitled to our $1,400 security deposit and didn’t plan on returning it. The PM tells me that he’s told them they have 14 business days from the date of lease termination to give us our money back, or they could be sued for double the amount. According to him, they pretty much told him to shut the *expletive deleted* up.

He goes on to state that they don’t have my security deposit and never have, so any issues with that need to be taken up directly with the owners. Talk about trying to cover your own ass!

At this point I’m PISSED with a capital PISSED. We’ve paid our rent on time if not early every month. Not only are they threatening to keep our deposit, they shut off our pool cleaning service as soon as they found out we were leaving the house! We had weeks of being unable to use our pool. It turned completely green…ain’t it pretty? This is after four weeks of no service…

They also shut off the gardening service. Both of these services were provided for in our lease, so shutting them off prematurely is a retaliatory act unlawful by the Arizona Landlord and Tenant Act.**

I wanted to write the owners a letter stating that since the re-rent fee and our security deposit were the same amount, we’d call it even and both move on. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get legal confirmation that doing that wouldn’t leave us in breach of our lease. So, being the good person I am***, I sent of a $1,400 check Certified mail, along with a letter requesting the return of our security deposit and sections of our lease and the Landlord Tenant Act highlighted to show them I knew exactly what I was talking about.

As of today, a notice was left at the owner’s residence to pick up their Certified letter three days ago. If they let it sit there for 30 days it gets returned to me. If it comes back, they’re not getting another check…plain and simple. I’ll send them ANOTHER Certified letter stating that the check was returned to me and they need to contact me directly to discuss payment. Hopefully I’ll never hear from them again. If they pick up the letter and cash my check, they have 19 business days from the 14th to send me my money (they get 5 additional days if it’s mailed)**. Otherwise, it’s off to Small Claims Court I go.

*Does this sound as stupid to you as it did to everyone else involved?

**You like how I do my research, don’t you?

***Really, it’s about being the litigious person that I am. I want to make sure I am completely in the right before I get in front of a judge. I wanted to be a lawyer for about five minutes in Jr. High.


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