Berkeley CSUA MOTD:Entry 52724
Berkeley CSUA MOTD
2022/05/27 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular

2009/3/17-23 [Reference/Law/Court, Reference/RealEstate] UID:52724 Activity:moderate
3/17    I posted on 2/10 about a landlord that stiffed me $600 on
        my deposit. I wrote him a "strongly worded letter" and followed it up
        with a "Pay up or I'm going to file a small claims court in 10 days"
        template. He didn't respond so I filed a claim, but the day I filed
        a claim, he wrote me back and added $250 to the deposit. If I hadn't
        already spent the $60 on the filing, I would have been happy and taken
        the money and gave up. As is, I think I should probably still do that,
        but I'm interested in learning about the whole legal process. Anyone
        have any experience with Small Claims Court? Is it as fun/fascinating
        as it sounds? The worst part is that I'm guessing that the judge won't
        give me the 2X deposit that I'm suing for because he's no longer acting
        in "bad faith"...
        \_ Unless you can claim your costs are greater than $250, the
           judge will probably get annoyed at you for wasting time
           and public resources. What are you going to ask for ...
           you cant say they reason your pursued the case was to see
           how the system would work.  If you proceed, you definitely
           want to have on record an explanation to the former landlord
           why the current settlement still leaves you short and what it
           would take to resolve it [i.e. "I spent $X in costs and time T,
           which is worth about $Y ...].  What did your landlord's letter
           say? [Also, I am not sure if your cashing the check has any
           legan bearing ... if a landlord tried to evict you but takes
           legal bearing ... if a landlord tried to evict you but takes
           money from you, it alters the situation for him].
           \_ I appreciate your advice, but I don't understand "costs >$250"?
              He's still deducting $250 from my deposit for things like paint,
              but I lived there for 3 years, longer than the typical life of
              cheap apartment paint. Can you not sue in small claims for $250?
              I don't want to waste the judge's time, but I thought small
              claims was for exactly that... small claims.
                     \_ I thought you meant the landlord sent you a $250
                        "bribe" on top of what he owned you to drop the
                        case for double/punitive damages/costs. I didnt
                        realize he still left you short. I think you need
                        to clear up the accounting if you want motd.advice.
                        By the way, there are a lot of obligations in CA for
                        landlord w.r.t. to deposits, especually if he doesnt
                        return the whole amount. You might look at the Nolo
                        Press book for renters.
              \_ Small claims is, technically, for anything up to $1,000;
                 after that, you jump up to regular court. That said, the
                 trend in modern justice is toward mediation and, well,
                 breaking even, so since you're already getting what you
                 wanted (minus $60), a judge is likely to tell you to get
                 lost. -!pp, IANAL
                 \_ limit is now $7,500 in CA for small claims
                    \_ See? More evidence that IANAL.
              \_ I don't understand, did he deduct $250 from the money he
                 owed you (and therefore still owes $250) or did he add
                 $250 to the money he returned? If it is the former, you
                 can still reasonably sue, if it is the latter, I can't
                 see what your claim would be.
              \_ If he gave you back $600-$250 then hell yes you can
                 take him to small claims (and may even be able to ask
                 to add your filing fee to the judgement if you win).
                 If he gave you $600+$250 then shut up and take your money.
                 \_ He owed me $1060 and gave me $600+$250=$850. So he still
                    owes me $310 (+filing fee?). Are you suggesting I shut up?
                    owes me $310 (+filing fee?). Should I sue or shut up?
                 \_ He owed me $1060 and gave me $460+$250=$710. So he still
                    owes me $350 (+filing fee?). Should I sue or shut up?
                    \_ up to you, but I would at least write him a letter
                       or e-mail saying you got his extra $250 and he is still
                       short $x, and you still feel stiffed and will still sue
                       unless he pays up.  Judges like to see this follow up
                       since if it works, it saves them time.
                       \_ Seconded. Make copies of everything you send so you
                          can show it to the Judge. Oh, and buy a book on how
                          to collect your judgement if you win; it's not just
                          a matter of having the Judge make the landlord hand
                          you the money.
                    \_ 1060 - 850 != 310
                        \_ Derr, at least the math in my letters to him was
                           correct. Here's the real accounting:
                           Deposit: $1060
                           First Check: $460
                           Second Check: $250
                           I'm going to cash the check today and have someone
                           serve him papers tomorrow. I will also write him
                           a letter saying that I received his second check
                           but that he is still short $350 and that he should
                           pay me the $350 or contact me if he wants to settle
                           this out of court. Thanks for the tips. Also,
                           Nolo Press is awesome.
                           \- Nolo >> Texas
                            \_ Inflamed hemorrhoids >> Texas.
2022/05/27 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular

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