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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 24659
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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I lived at an apartment complex and experienced a janitor

Customer Question

Hello, I lived at an apartment complex and experienced a janitor coming into my apartment unauthorized from time to time. Upon complaining to management they did nothing about it. When I explained I was getting a security camera then the camera would go off line and it was confirmed by AT&T that whomever had access to the cable/internet room was disconnecting my internet and the camera would stop recording. This person also stole from my apartment, took food and destroyed my personal belongings. I finally could not take it any longer and moved in March 11 and sent a letter detailing everything that had been done to me while a tenant. I did not pay Feb rent so now they are sending me a balance due for March of $268 since they kept my deposit. I want to know what my rights are.
JA: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state the property is in?
Customer: St. Louis, MO
JA: What are the terms of the lease? Any issues related to maintenance or upkeep?
Customer: no the issue was their janitor who I confirmed was entering my apartment unauthorized going thru my personal belongings, stealing and destroying my things.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: no
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Legal Eagle replied 7 months ago.

Hello! I am a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly 100% satisfaction rating (click here for more info) so all that means is that you can count on me to help today. Because I want to provide you with the most accurate answer possible, do you mind if I take a moment to review your question?

Please keep in mind that our conversation does not include an attorney-client relationship and this is for general information purposes only.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
ok, thank you
Expert:  Legal Eagle replied 7 months ago.

Great, thank you! The system may automatically ask you for a phone call; however, it’s not required that you take it. Bear with me a moment while I review…

Expert:  Legal Eagle replied 7 months ago.

Thanks for your patience and I"m sorry about your situation.

Security deposit issues are common among landlords and tenants. Part of the reason is because what is considered necessary for repair/cleaning vs. reasonable wear and tear is subjective. Each party has an interest in keeping as much money as possible. Nonetheless, the landlord has responsibilities under the law that must be recognized.

Generally, the law requires that the landlord provide an itemized list of the cleaning and repairs that must be done, along with the charges owed or the remaining amount after the deductions usually within 14-30 days depending on your jurisdiction. The failure to do so can lead to damages paid out by the landlord.

In addition, landlords are required to only deduct for reasonable expenses related to cleaning and repair. They cannot charge a tenant’s security deposit to remodel the premises. A fresh coat of paint is a common, reasonable charge. A brand new chandelier is not a common, reasonable charge.

If you have concerns about the timing or reasonableness of your security deposit letter, it is important to begin discussions with the landlord now. Sometimes, they either forget or they are just negligent in their actions so you have to take the lead. There’s a site that I’ve used in the past where you can find a good template for a letter that puts the landlord on notice that their actions regarding the security deposit is unlawful (click here). It only costs $10 and it is way cheaper than litigation.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Hello, the charge is to be $5. How much have you charged my credit card
Expert:  Legal Eagle replied 7 months ago.

Hi, I actually don't do the billing myself; that's all handled by our customer care team.

Regardless, one of the things that is a problem here is that they seem to be keeping your deposit because you made complaints about the janitor coming into your apartment.

In addition to the issues with the security deposit, you should also explain that this sounds like a classic case of negligence. Negligence simply means that there was a duty that the other party owed and they breached that duty in some way. What is most important is that it is proven that the defendant breached their duty of care because that is what mostly determines whether there is a cause of action. Basically, the question is, “Did the defendant’s actions fall below the standard of care for a reasonable person in a similar situation?” If the answer to that question is yes, then there is negligence and you are entitled to damages.

Because I value your input, I would like to know what other questions did you have for me today that I can help you out with:-)?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Can I have the number to *****
Expert:  Legal Eagle replied 7 months ago.

You can always contact Just Answer’s Customer Care team by clicking here or calling them at 1-***-***-****.

Did you have questions about what I provided?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I am not satisfied