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Landlord didn't return deposit or itemized deductions within 14 days. Now I'm in collection after moving out. What can I do?

Phoenix, AZ |

The facts:
1) I hand delivered a notice to intent to vacate the unit at the end of my contract, with a forwarding address on the sixth. Manager allowed it by word, even though it was past the 1st of the month.
2) At move out, maintenance guy and I inspected the unit, and he said it was in pretty good condition.
3) I have a price list with repair cots "in case of excessive markings or damage", which I received upon move-in, three years back.
4) I received a call from a collections agency stating i was in collection, even though I was not even aware I owed them anything.
5) i did NOT receive my deposit, or an itemized list of the deductions, withing the 14 days allowed by law.

How can I legally fight their abusive ways?

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Attorney answers 3

Posted

The prior answer is essentially correct, but for one thing: the statute does not actually require your demand for itemization to be in writing. (Undoubtedly an oversight, but the language says nothing about written demand.) Written is better, but even if you simply gave the demand orally, you can go forward with the treble damage action. Since the common belief among LT lawyers and judges is that the notice has to be in writing, you might want to do a written demand anyway. But that tips off the landlord to his oversight. Get a lawyer.

Celia R Reed

Celia R Reed

Posted

Technically you are right. The statute simply says "demand by tenant." However, if the demand is in writing, then that issue of proof is removed, so I always advise tenants to make written demand.

Steven Roger Rensch

Steven Roger Rensch

Posted

So do it, most the time.

Steven Roger Rensch

Steven Roger Rensch

Posted

Typo . . . I meant to say "so do I, most the time".

Asker

Posted

Thank you all for your responses. I'm not sure what the outcome will be, but all your insight has been helpfull and is appreciated.

Posted

First, the 14 days starts to run after the landlord receives written demand from you for return of your security deposit. If you have done this, you are at the point where you need to hire a landlord-tenant attorney. Many offer free consultations. You should also contact collections and find out what the landlord says you owe. This information may be helpful to your attorney.

Please note that I am answering this question as a service through Avvo but not as your attorney and no attorney-client relationship is established by this posting. An attorney-client relationship can only be established through signing a Fee Agreement and paying the necessary advanced fees.

Posted

I agree with the prior attorneys' answers but you need to be aware of a few issues to discuss with your landlord tenant attorney. 1. Did the manager have authority to accept a late notice? This may be answered in the language of your lease. 2. What are the amounts of your refundable deposits, not just all of your deposits? Treble damages is only for what amounts you should have received back from your deposits. 3. What amounts are you being collected on? If you have a thick skin, feel free to try to have this conversation with the collections agency to get the details. 4. If you are looking for an attorney and you are having difficulty, you may want to call the Maricopa County Bar Referral Service.

Disclaimer: This answer is provided for informational purposes only, does not constitute legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. I am licensed in Arizona and can only provide general comments on matters outside of Arizona law. Actual legal advice can only be provided after a direct consultation in which all of the relevant facts are considered before providing a response.

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