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Students must be cautious toward landlords

Allison Weeks

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Allison Weeks

Allison Weeks

My former landlord should be ashamed of himself.

Last year, I lived off Fourth Avenue with two of my friends. We rented a three bedroom, two bathroom apartment through a rental company in Chico. I was excited because I was living off campus for the first time since I came to Chico State.

We put down $1,000 for the deposit and we thought we would get it back if we cleaned our apartment at the end of our lease. One of my roommates and I even dragged our parents up for the weekend to help us clean.

My roommate decided to stay in Chico until the day our apartment was inspected.

When inspection day came, our landlord told my roommate he had never seen the place so clean. So naturally, we thought we would get our full deposit back.

About five weeks later, my roommates and I were wondering why we had not received a check in the mail.

When I spoke to our landlord on the phone, he told me he was only giving us $650 back. He decided to keep $350 from our deposit for the 14 hours he spent cleaning our apartment and cleaning supplies.yourdeposit

I am sure my former landlord has done this to other students before and gotten away with it, but not this time. My roommates and I are taking him to court for what we deserve — our money.

The landlord is not allowed to withhold any amount of the deposit 21 days after the lease is up, according to California Civil Code 1950.5. My mom sent a certified letter to our former landlord asking him to send us the rest of our deposit back within 30 days. He failed to do so. My roommates and I are now entitled to collect double the amount owed to us, $700, plus court costs, by establishing a bad faith claim, according to California law.

A worker at the Community Legal Information Center said that most Chico landlords have done this to students. It is disgusting that there are landlords who are willing to take advantage of college students when they should be supporting them.

Students need to educate themselves about the law before they decide to rent an apartment or a house.

For those of you renting a house or apartment, keep copies of all your contracts. Take photos of the condition of your place when you leave. Otherwise, your landlord may take advantage of you.

 

Allison Weeks can be reached at [email protected] or @msallisonweeks on Twitter.

Illustration by Liz Coffee.

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