Post # 1
FI and I moved from an apartment into a house last month. Our lease on the apartment isn’t up until next month, so we’ve kept half of our furniture there, and continue to pay rent. We also routinely go back to check on the apartment and pick up mail.
Today, FI went to the apartment and found that the landlord had moved someone in. All of our furniture had been taken to a basement and covered with a cloth. The person who is now living in our apartment had no idea this had happened. When FI confronted the property manager, she claimed she tried to contact us multiple times. This is BS, as we didn’t receive any messages via phone, e-mail, or mail.
In our lease, it states the landlord must give 24 hours notice to the tenant before entering the apartment. Additionally, the landlord “can only inspect the property with the tenant present or after the landlord gives the tenant reasonable opportunity to be present… If the tenant is not present at the time of entry, the landlord must notify the tenant within 24 hours of the time, purpose and persons who entered the property.” None of this happened.
FI and I want to try to get this month’s rent back, since the landlord is now receiving rent for one apartment from two different parties. We are also owed our security deposit, which is equal to one month’s rent. Do we have a case to take legal action? Is there a way to handle this outside of court?
Post # 3
Where do you live? Laws varry greatly with location.
If you’re in Ontario, you definitely have a case.
Post # 4
Have you asked for the months rent + security deposit back? What did they say? I would think you absolutely would have a case.
Post # 5
My logic would be that, if they’re following the laws, they should be documenting when they try to make contact. Ask them for proof that they tried to contact you (e-mails, call logs, texts?) and if they can’t provide it, then move forward. I can’t see why you wouldn’t get your damage deposit back, though, so I hope there’s no trouble there.
Speaking from personal experience, though, depending on where you are, it might be worth letting go. I’ve had to go to our provincial tenancy board, and they’re absolutely useless if you’re going to them as a tenant–from everything I’ve ever experienced and heard, they’re firmly on the side of the property managers. Hence my rent increasing 15% in three years, rather than the specified 5%.
I do hope you get it sorted out and get your rent and deposit back! The situation is completely unacceptable.
Post # 6
@shaynapunim: Wow that sounds very unusual, definitely sounds like you’ve got a case, particularly that they took it upon themselves to move your stuff without your permission, before your lease is up! I would probably contact a lawyer or your local rental authority, but maybe start by asking them to prove they have tried to contact you.
Post # 7
I used to work in apt management and you absolutely have a case. First of all, it’s illegal to collect double rent on a property. Plus, if you have a lease and are up to date on payments, they have no right to move you out. It’s still your apartment, whether you are there or not! I would raise hell if I were you! Make sure you go through your belongings asap to check if anything is missing or broken, take photos showing your belongings in the basement, and document everything. Try to communicate through email when possible, so that you have a record of what is being said. Is this a large, corporate run community, or a smaller building with a private owner who uses a management company to run things?
Post # 8
I was a property manager also, here written communication is required. We had to use certified mail when communicating such situations. I would contact an attorney immediately, talk to them about what your options are as it varies per state. Here, they only have 15 days, once they removed your things to send you a breakdown of your security deposit. If a tenant doesn’t receive within 15 days, they were owned 3x the deposit amount. There are so many things wrong with what they did.
@Opheliah: is right, document everything. Pictures, phone call notes, emails, everything.
Post # 9
@shaynapunim: That sounds 100% illegal to me.
Post # 10
Wow. That is INSANE. What a jackass. I would definitely talk to A lawyer
Post # 11
That definitely sounds illegal. How did they know you were gone? did you tell them you had moved out but were still keeping furniture there? Super messed up!
I would document everything, and ask for proof they contacted you. Make sure you get your current month’s rent and deposit back.
I also think they should give you something extra. If you break your lease early, you usually owe the landlord something extra. I feel like they should owe you extra money in this situation as well!
Post # 12
Whether or not you have a case is jurisdiction-specific. Where I live (Ontario), your landlord would be found in contravention of the LTA and possibly charged with a provincial offence.
Many jurisdictions have a legal referral service that you can call. If you’re in metro Toronto, let me know and I can determine whether you qualify for the pro bono clinic I work at.
Post # 13
Wow! That is ridiculous… did they think you wouldn’t notice? You absolutely have a case. When you communicate with them from now on, make sure it is in writing. Emails, letters… keep copies of everything, request read receipts and make screenshots. Inform them that you will be taking your case to a lawyer if you don’t receive back your security deposit plus the months rent.
Post # 14
@M72727: The apartment is located in Philadelphia.
@Westwood: We’ve asked for the security deposit back and have informed them we will not be paying next month’s rent (our last payment due). We’re waiting to hear back from them.
@MrsRevolutionize: My dad thinks we should get the security deposit back and then let it go. Part of me agrees with him, while part of me really wants to fight them, especially if they’re breaking the law.
@Opheliah: I didn’t know it’s illegal to collect double rent on a property. Thank you for letting me know. The apartment complex has a private owner, although he owns several complexes in the area.
@pineapplez17: The property manager said the security cameras showed us moving out. FI argued that we didn’t fully move out, as half of our furniture was still there. She just scoffed.
@letigre: Unfortunately, you can’t help, as the apartment is in Philadelphia. Thank you so much for the offer, though. It means a lot. I’m not sure how to find a pro bono lawyer in our area.
Post # 15
@shaynapunim: I’m not certain if it helps at all, but despite my troubles with the tenancy board here, if you have a similar authority in Philadelphia it could be worth speaking to them first. The provincial tenancy board here holds basic hearings to do with rental-property-related issues, and for me, the hearing I was going to arrange would have cost $100, which would have been refunded to me if I had won the hearing (long story short: my electrical went in the kitchen of a rental suite that was scheduled to be renovated in 2 months, they didn’t fix it for three weeks, until I threatened to take them to a hearing). Just an idea?
Post # 16
@shaynapunim: ugh…that’s almost creepy. They watched that you moved a bunch of stuff out of your apartment and just decided you were gone? What if you were just getting rid of things? I’m angry for you!