As you may recall, my former landlord is an incompetent jerk. You remember that time he acted a fool when my rent check got lost in the mail and that other time when I gave him 30 days written and verbal notice that I was vacating my apartment (per the terms of my month to month lease and in compliance with California state law) and he acted like he had a problem with that? This is the man that often took forever to make repairs, dragged his feet about scheduling time to do a final walk through of my apartment once I'd moved out, and finally, showed up 45 minutes after the mutually agreed upon time. Well, it's been over six months since I moved out, and (SURPRISE!) this fool hasn't returned my security deposit to me.
According to California state law, a landlord must return a tenant's security deposit in full within 21 days of the last day of occupancy. Typically, that 21 day countdown starts on the day of the final walk through. If the landlord is withholding any part of the security deposit, he or she must notify the former tenant in writing with an itemized list of deductions. So, if you kicked a hole in the wall or stole a light fixture, your landlord would have to send you something that basically says, "I'm deducting such and such amount for the repair of the thingamajig." In my case, the apartment was in excellent condition and thoroughly cleaned. Of course it showed of a reasonable amount of wear and tear which is understandable with 3 years of occupancy. However it didn't need much done to it in preparation for the next tenant. Perhaps a coat of paint.
I had paid my final rent, trusting that despite his shoddy track record, he would do the right thing and pay what he owed in a reasonable amount of time. But, as R. Kelly so eloquently stated, "Haters gon' hate. Ballers gon' ball," and true to his character, my landlord did not do the correct and proper thing. I wrote him a nice email, as a reminder that he owed me some good money. No response. This is the point at which I started calling him. And of course, he participated in shade and didn't answer his phone. He didn't respond to my messages. He was a sucka emcee. But I really want to call him something else. But I won't, 'cause my Mama raised me right.
One day, my fiance called him and cursed him out. I think he did it in Spanish. My landlord called me, damn near crying (like a little bi-- Oh... I said I wouldn't call him somethin' else. Nevermind). He was a fountain of excuses. He was offended that I would take such measures and almost went as far as to say that my fiance doesn't know his life. I told him, "Listen. That's the man I'm marrying and currently residing under the same roof with. It is absolutely his business. He doesn't have to know your life. You owe me. So, you owe us. Cough up the dinero, compadre." And then he started with the promises to pay. "Just give me some time," he said. That was back in June.
So, now I have to sue him.
Really, ain't nobody got time for that. But, I have to do what I have to do, mostly out of principal. I've been living without that money for a long time and [thankfully] I hadn't hinged any dreams on it or made any plans for it. That money would be extra. But the point is that its MINES. Not his. So, now I gotta take attention away from things that I want to do to go deal with some foolishness that I shouldn't have to. Such is life.
Here's the thing though. I have a theory as to why he "hasn't been able" to return my security deposit to me. Remember that one time last summer when Ashley Catharine McGinty (also known as "That Girl") came to stay in my spare bedroom and proceeded to make messes and not clean up after herself, try not to pay rent, and finally not return my house key to me once she left? Well, about a week after I had moved out of that apartment, I stopped by the premises to check and see if there were any random pieces of mail for me that may have been mis-delivered to the old address... And I saw that someone had already taken up residence in my old apartment. Hmmm.
This struck me as strange since, as far as I knew, my old landlord had not advertised the apartment as vacant and it was still the middle of the month. Surely, at that point, he hadn't had any time to prep the apartment for a new tenant. For someone to be occupying the place within a week was just...
Hey. I suspect that That Girl (who, as far as we know, still has my keys), let herself into the vacant apartment once the coast was clear and took up residence. Listen. Stranger things have happened. And with a squatter in the unit [and California laws regarding tenancy being what they are] there would be no way to swiftly order an eviction, physically remove the unwanted occupant, and rent it out to a new tenant. Therefore there would be no way to obtain a new security deposit or collect any rent... And maybe no way to return my deposit to me. With his broke behind. I'm just sayin'.
As you can see [and probably already knew], my life is full of the finest foolery. Now, excuse me while I go write a check to Southern California Edison in the amount of $.57. Good day.