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Time to take the landlord to court?
Old 01-14-2020, 03:03 PM   #1
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Time to take the landlord to court?

So we rented a house and moved out on November 30th. I'm still waiting to receive my $4300 worth of deposits back.

Landlord lives in Asia, and I've only dealt with his local agent who is a realtor. During the move-out walk through inspection, he noted zero damages and said that the owner would send me back my full deposit. Virginia law gives him 45 days to either return my funds and/or give me an itemized list of the damages. He knows how to send me the funds, and we e-mailed each other about a week ago.

Here's where I could use advice....
If I end up taking him to court and win, there still is no guarantee that he would pay. Is there a way to collect? Put a lien on the house? Not sure how that works.
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Old 01-14-2020, 03:13 PM   #2
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In my state I know you can put a lean based on a judgement. However you may need to re-process some stuff every so often. Again in my state there are interest rates that apply as long as the judgement is not paid.

We did this when we rented our house as we were out of country. The tenant left the house is bad shape (things bad tenants often do).

Check your area's laws and processes.
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Old 01-14-2020, 03:26 PM   #3
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Usually when a deposit is not returned on time, state law doubles or triples the amounts, as most laws favor the tenants. Here in Commonwealth of PA, it is doubled. At $4300, it would be worth your while to sue/go to small claims court. If the ruling is in your favor and get a judgement, a lien can be placed, and you'll get your money when he/she sells. so follow bingybear's advice and find out your laws. You might even get a free lawyer to represent you in court!
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Old 01-14-2020, 03:28 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HawkeyeNFO View Post
So we rented a house and moved out on November 30th. I'm still waiting to receive my $4300 worth of deposits back.



Landlord lives in Asia, and I've only dealt with his local agent who is a realtor. During the move-out walk through inspection, he noted zero damages and said that the owner would send me back my full deposit. Virginia law gives him 45 days to either return my funds and/or give me an itemized list of the damages. He knows how to send me the funds, and we e-mailed each other about a week ago.



Here's where I could use advice....

If I end up taking him to court and win, there still is no guarantee that he would pay. Is there a way to collect? Put a lien on the house? Not sure how that works.


I canít help you with how you can collect but I would certainly advise against renting from any landlord thatís located outside of the country for this very reason. I was looking to rent an apartment in a nice area of Miami some years ago and nearly all the landlords lived in Latin America. I refused to do a lease unless it was a domestic agency. They were also asking for first monthís rent, last monthís and a security deposit. I believed I would likely not see any of it back and would have limited recourse for collection.
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Old 01-14-2020, 03:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HawkeyeNFO View Post
So we rented a house and moved out on November 30th. I'm still waiting to receive my $4300 worth of deposits back.

Landlord lives in Asia, and I've only dealt with his local agent who is a realtor. During the move-out walk through inspection, he noted zero damages and said that the owner would send me back my full deposit. Virginia law gives him 45 days to either return my funds and/or give me an itemized list of the damages. He knows how to send me the funds, and we e-mailed each other about a week ago.

Here's where I could use advice....
If I end up taking him to court and win, there still is no guarantee that he would pay. Is there a way to collect? Put a lien on the house? Not sure how that works.

You say that you moved out at the end of November and that in your state the landlord has 45 days to return the deposit or send a detailed list of damages. Today it is January 14, so it seems that the landlord isn't really late yet, or if he is then maybe by one day or so. Before you start pursuing legal action, perhaps send him another reminder (looks like minimally you know his e-mail)? I know everyone is suing everyone these days, but geesh, at this point, he is either one day late or not late at all. Ease up a little?
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Old 01-14-2020, 04:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HawkeyeNFO View Post
So we rented a house and moved out on November 30th. I'm still waiting to receive my $4300 worth of deposits back.

Landlord lives in Asia, and I've only dealt with his local agent who is a realtor. During the move-out walk through inspection, he noted zero damages and said that the owner would send me back my full deposit. Virginia law gives him 45 days to either return my funds and/or give me an itemized list of the damages. He knows how to send me the funds, and we e-mailed each other about a week ago.

Here's where I could use advice....
If I end up taking him to court and win, there still is no guarantee that he would pay. Is there a way to collect? Put a lien on the house? Not sure how that works.
I would start by calling the local agent/realtor who said that the owner would send you back your full deposit and ask him when you can expect to receive your deposit back. It is a bit early to think of legal action since today, Jan 14 is only 45 days after November 30th.
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Old 01-14-2020, 04:29 PM   #7
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...and I've only dealt with his local agent who is a realtor.
...
Here's where I could use advice....
If I end up taking him to court and win, there still is no guarantee that he would pay. Is there a way to collect? Put a lien on the house? Not sure how that works.
Sue the local agent.
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Old 01-14-2020, 04:31 PM   #8
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I'd wait until the end of week before doing anything.
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Old 01-14-2020, 05:09 PM   #9
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Landlord will be late as of tomorrow. I'll give him a short grace period of a few days, but this has been THE WORST landlord I have ever done business with. Very lazy. Failure to respond to my calls, texts, or e-mails to let him know something needed to be fixed, failure to fix things in a timely manner, failed to fix some things at all.

So I'm not surprised that he is not wanting to pay me back the deposit, but it is unacceptable. I've been a landlord, and always treated my tenants with respect while taking care of them and my property. I really don't want to go to the legal system, but given the history of this guy, I don't see him doing the right thing without some kind of prodding, which may require a judgement.
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Old 01-14-2020, 05:13 PM   #10
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I don't doubt you a bit. I hated all my landlords some more than others. Still I wouldn't do anything until it's officially late. Wait and then file your suit.
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Old 01-14-2020, 05:16 PM   #11
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When I moved to the PNW I rented a house for a year. I had the hardest time getting my deposit back even though the owner raved about the condition of the house at lease's end. His "bookkeeper" insisted the check had been sent multiple times, even claiming the check would be reissued as the original had surely been lost in the mail. When I finally got the check, it was dated shortly after I had requested it - so the b*stards had sat on it the whole time.
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Old 01-14-2020, 05:31 PM   #12
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Do you have the exit papers/documentation of zero damage, amount and signage of final walk through?
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Old 01-14-2020, 07:06 PM   #13
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Maybe you would file by yourself in small claims court. If not, I doubt that any lawyer would take your case 1 day after the 45. If your state says double like some say. I would contact your owner's local agent and mention that this is what you expect, now that it is beyond the 45 days.

However, did you get a written report from the local agent of the inspection and is stated that you will get your full deposit back ? Maybe what he reported to the owner was different than what he told you. It could happen.
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Old 01-14-2020, 08:17 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HawkeyeNFO View Post
So we rented a house and moved out on November 30th. I'm still waiting to receive my $4300 worth of deposits back.

Landlord lives in Asia, and I've only dealt with his local agent who is a realtor. During the move-out walk through inspection, he noted zero damages and said that the owner would send me back my full deposit. Virginia law gives him 45 days to either return my funds and/or give me an itemized list of the damages. He knows how to send me the funds, and we e-mailed each other about a week ago.

Here's where I could use advice....
If I end up taking him to court and win, there still is no guarantee that he would pay. Is there a way to collect? Put a lien on the house? Not sure how that works.
I am a landlord myself, but the company that manages my rental manager (local agent in your case) keeps the deposit $ and do return the deposit timely to the tenants post move. This could be a situation where the local agent is the one not returning the deposit. I would sue in any case. The rental property can't disappear, and if the court agrees with you, there will be ways to force the owner/agent to pay. Good luck
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Old 01-15-2020, 05:14 PM   #15
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OP. From reading your posts.

1. It appears, the real estate agent, rented the unit to you.

2. Then, all future correspondence was directly between you and the owner of the property.

3. IMHO. The real estate agent, represented the owner. (compensated by owner).

This is what I would do.

In writing, give owner "X" days to refund deposit, or you will go to small claims court.
Include, the "Agent" in this letter. As you will request both owner and agent to go
to small claims court.

Hopefully, just the threat, will get the "Agent", to contact the owner, and do the right
thing.

Worse, case, follow thru on your threat. Good luck.
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Old 01-15-2020, 10:56 PM   #16
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You might have an issue getting the LL into court. If they live overseas, getting them served could be an issue. If they are a registered entity with the Sec of State then you could probably sue the entity. ~not legal advice.
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Old 01-16-2020, 10:22 AM   #17
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Which is why, I suggested taking the Real Estate agent to court.
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Old 01-16-2020, 10:49 AM   #18
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The property is in Virginia, with the county's tax record showing owner's name with a Maryland address.

Today I sent an e-mail to both the agent and the owner, after speaking with the agent on the phone. I gave them until Monday to pay. After that I'll be off to the court house to take care of business with both the agent and the owner.
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Old 01-16-2020, 10:54 AM   #19
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Great. Keep records of your emails. Be nice and professional. Hopefully, the agent and owners will do the right thing. Good luck.
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Old 01-17-2020, 08:34 AM   #20
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Happy ending...........

The day after I sent the "demand letter" e-mail, the owner wired me the funds. No need to go to court. Problem solved.
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