Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Help Me Howard: Security Deposit
If you have ever rented an apartment you know you have to put down a security deposit, and if you have ever moved out, you know sometimes it can be difficult to get that deposit back. What can you do? Well, if all else fails, do what one man did. Call Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- How many of you have never seen one of these? Played on one of these. Reggie has 500 albums to enjoy the Motown sound on his record player.
Reggie Dixon: "I used to collect them awhile back when they still made them, but they don't make them anymore."
The music makes Reggie and Brenda smile. Then we brought up a subject that wipes away that smile.
Reggie Dixon: "I would like to see my money returned to me immediately, with interest."
For four years the Dixons lived at this Pembroke Pines apartment complex. When their lease expired in February, they bought a house and moved out.
Reggie Dixon: "We did everything we were supposed to do as far as having a walk-through, and they told me it would be about 15 days before we should receive our security deposit."
Reggie waited a few weeks for his $800 security deposit.
Reggie Dixon: "And then I called the complex back, and they said it would be another week or so, and this kept going on and on for a couple of months."
As the months passed, Reggie often ran into other people who used to live in his complex, and they all had a common complaint.
Reggie Dixon: "He was waiting on his security deposit as well, and there were nine other people that he knew of that were all waiting on the security deposit."
The company that owes Reggie the money is called the Deaktor Development Corporation. This summer, they sold their building, but legally they still owe tenants like Reggie his money.
Reggie Dixon: "I guess they are just not going to give it back. This has been going on and on for 10 months now, and finally I decided I needed to do something else."
Something else like call Help Me Howard.
Howard Finkelstein: "If there are no problems with your unit, the landlord has 15 days to return your deposit. If there are problems, and the landlord plans to keep part of the money, he has 30 days from the end of the lease to notify you, and then another 30 days to return the rest of the money."
When I called Deaktor Development in Pembroke Pines to ask about the security deposit, they said, no comment and hung up. But the day this story was about to air, the owner of the company called and said he apologized for the late payment and that Reggie would be getting his check by Friday. Reggie says he has been told that before. Howard says, if it doesn't arrive, go to court.
Howard Finkelstein: "If they don't return it, unfortunately you might have to go to small claims court, but Reggie has a slam dunk case and if he wants to hire an attorney, the landlord has to pay his legal fees if Reggie wins."
Reggie may do that if any attorney wants to take the case and get his legal fees paid by the company that is refusing to return the deposit. In the meantime, he has his collection of albums to enjoy.
Brenda Dixon: "And I always say, God forbid when he goes on, I will have a goldmine with these albums, and that's why I take good care of them and keep them in good condition."
Late today, the complex manager told me they were sending Reggie his check this week. Reggie says they have told him that before. Bottom line, when you move out of a rental, do a walk through with the landlord. Take pictures of the inside of the place and get the results in writing. Then, if they don't send the money within 60 days, hire an attorney or go to small claims court and sue them.
Rented a problem so long you feel like you own it? Need some security? Deposit your dilemma with us. We'll move in and clean up the mess or give it a good shot.
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