Security deposit problem

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Seven On Your Side
February 11, 2010 3:10:06 PM PST
Before moving out of their apartment, this couple seemingly did everything right, took pictures, did a walk through. But despite their best effort, most of their security deposit was withheld. They retired to Florida. But the snowbirds flew north this winter for help getting their full security deposit back. For John Gibson and his wife, every photo of their former apartment shows it's in immaculate shape.

"The facts were that the apartment was perfect" says former tenant John Gibson. "It was spotless and there wasn't any damage or anything."

Last August, after 10 years, John and his wife moved out of their Long Island apartment 1,300 miles south in Bradenton, Florida.

But, before leaving, the Gibsons took dozens of pictures, everything from the inside of the oven, to the condition of their carpets. "We took photographs of everything, we had letters signed, we had witnesses." John's building's superintendent. Who, John says, did a walk-through and signed a document saying the apartment was left in "excellent condition."

But, John says his management company, Fairfield Properties withheld $1284. The reason? The property manager said it had to replace John's carpets. The same pristine carpets shown in John's stack of pictures. "There's nothing wrong the carpeting," maintains the former tenant. "My photographs prove that."

Even after sending his pics as proof, Gibson says the management company wouldn't budge. "I waited and waited and waited, no phone call."

So after months of calling long distance from Florida, John called 7 on your side and we called Fairfield Properties.

"I received a phone call from the property manager within about an hour (of our call)," said a very pleased Mr. Gibson.

Fairfield told John, they didn't believe their super ever signed the letter and insisted he produce the original walk-through document. And, soon after, John finally got a check for the rest of the deposit, $1284.

"If it wasn't for 7 on your side we wouldn't be sitting here right now. We wouldn't have received our check and that's the truth.

Fairfield Properties told us in a statement John's carpet was left in "unflattering condition" and blames the super for signing off on the condition of it.

In the tri-state area there are no rules mandating a walk through at end of lease, so it's important residents must take pictures and video to show the condition before turning in the keys. Mr. Gibson believed that point was so important to make, he flew 1300 miles from Florida back to Suffolk county to make that point in person.

Story by: Nina Pineda

Produced by: Steve Livingstone