Security deposit blues

Seven On Your Side
April 17, 2009 9:13:18 PM PDT
"It is unbelievable." Ex-tenant Rhonda Eason is frustrated. "They just won't even respond, that is what's most shocking to me." Rhonda's talking about her old landlord; Flatbush Gardens in Brooklyn. "I lived there for a year and decided to move and never thought for a second that there would be any problems or any issues."

But there were. Months after she moved out, Rhonda hadn't gotten her $1025 security deposit refunded.

She took pictures of the apartment showing no damage. She says she sent her landlord a fax, saying she would not be renewing her lease. She even kept a delivery confirmation proving it.

Then, she dropped off the keys and gave her new address. Her lease said she would get the deposit back within 60 days. But it didn't come. So she faxed her landlord again. And a third time.

"I have contacted them many times," said the bewildered businesswoman. "I have sent them three letters I faxed, plus I have the fax confirmation sheet saying that they received it."

When 7 On Your side's phone calls to the management office went unanswered, we took our camera to their Boro Park office and started asking questions. "I'm from Channel 7," announced 7 On Your Side's Tappy Phillips. "I'd like to talk to you about a rental deposit refund for Rhonda Eason who moved out from Flatbush Gardens."

After we left, the management office finally called us back. A rep told us Rhonda had sent her faxes to the leasing office and not the management office. As a result they didn't get into the right hands.

But real estate attorney Mark Altschul told us there are only certain instances where a landlord can keep a deposit. "If the rent is unpaid and if there's damage to the apartment, the landlord would have a right to withhold security." Otherwise, Altschul says, the landlord MUST give back the deposit in full.

And shortly after our visit to Flatbush Gardens. The management company sent over a check for the full security deposit via overnight mail. Rhonda was relieved and grateful. "I think that the reason why they finally did was the pressure ABC put on them. So thank you so much, Tappy Phillips, for going over there."

Tappy Phillips Channel Seven Eyewitness News.


Story by: Tappy Phillips

Produced by: Steve Livingstone

STORY BY: Eyewitness News reporter Tappy Phillips