Wednesday, June 15, 2011


When Boy#1 and Boy#2 vacated their college apartment a month ago, we made sure it was in pristine condition. The men of the family were the movers, I was the cleaner, and we did our jobs well.

I scrubbed down the cupboards, sanitized the refrigerator inside and out, polished drip pans until they shone, and dabbed paint on a couple of scratches on the walls. The bathrooms were top-to-bottom sparkly when I finished, and the entire place had a clean, lemony scent.

The apartment looked great, even better than when they moved in.

Imagine our surprise this week when the damage deposit was returned, and most of it was, well, un-returned. One chunk was withheld for "light plates and doorstops," the former of which I distinctly remember cleaning and the latter of which had never existed. Another honkin' huge amount went to "cleaning and painting." Hrmph.

I was not a happy person. (I believe the phrase I used was, "If I'd have known this was going to happen, we'd have just moved the stuff out and locked the doors behind us, and I most certainly would not have scrubbed that groady shower.")

As it turns out, though, there are some advantages to having a law student in the family. These property managers are notorious for cabbaging onto deposits so one of Boy#1's lawyer-ly professors had provded his classes a template for just such an occasion. One now knows phrases such as "pursuant to"  and "three times the portion of the deposit wrongfully withheld," and "further, Section 92.109(d) states" and "insufficient to justify retention of any portion," and he used all of these phrases (and more!) in the certified letter he fired off to the property managers.

We don't know if the letter will actually result in the return of the deposit, but we have learned a valuable lesson, which is this:  Having a lawyer in the family could turn out to be very useful.


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