Small claims Court
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Small claims Court (by Plenty [MO]) Feb 28, 2024 6:16 PM
       Small claims Court (by plenty [MO]) Feb 28, 2024 6:19 PM
       Small claims Court (by Vee [OH]) Feb 28, 2024 6:36 PM
       Small claims Court (by plenty [MO]) Feb 28, 2024 6:42 PM
       Small claims Court (by Small potatoes [NY]) Feb 28, 2024 7:04 PM
       Small claims Court (by Wmh [NC]) Feb 28, 2024 7:10 PM
       Small claims Court (by plenty [MO]) Feb 28, 2024 7:16 PM
       Small claims Court (by Ray-N-Pa [PA]) Feb 28, 2024 7:59 PM
       Small claims Court (by 6x6 [TN]) Feb 28, 2024 8:20 PM
       Small claims Court (by Just Tim [AR]) Feb 28, 2024 8:50 PM
       Small claims Court (by Renne [TX]) Feb 28, 2024 8:56 PM
       Small claims Court (by Doogie [KS]) Feb 28, 2024 8:59 PM
       Small claims Court (by Mapleaf18 [NY]) Feb 29, 2024 12:19 AM
       Small claims Court (by zero [IN]) Feb 29, 2024 8:24 AM
       Small claims Court (by Ken [NY]) Feb 29, 2024 10:25 AM
       Small claims Court (by MC [PA]) Feb 29, 2024 1:57 PM
       Small claims Court (by Jim in O C [CA]) Feb 29, 2024 2:20 PM
       Small claims Court (by plenty [MO]) Feb 29, 2024 5:10 PM
       Small claims Court (by melinda [MD]) Feb 29, 2024 8:52 PM
       Small claims Court (by Robin [WI]) Feb 29, 2024 9:36 PM
       Small claims Court (by S i d [MO]) Mar 1, 2024 8:05 AM
       Small claims Court (by WMH [NC]) Mar 1, 2024 8:39 AM
       Small claims Court (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Mar 1, 2024 1:32 PM
       Small claims Court (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Mar 1, 2024 1:33 PM
       Small claims Court (by Annie [IN]) Mar 1, 2024 2:51 PM
       Small claims Court (by plenty [MO]) Mar 2, 2024 1:33 PM
       Small claims Court (by MC [PA]) Mar 3, 2024 11:24 AM

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Small claims Court (by Plenty [MO]) Posted on: Feb 28, 2024 6:16 PM

So I had a move out last September. She didn't like her security deposit accounting, no refund and she owned me a little money. So she filed in small claims Court and today was our scheduled time to appear. The judge is reviewing and Will send his findings in a few weeks. She is asking for double deposit return on the entire amount paid, even provided the judge with the Missouri statue saying she is entitled cause it wasn't returned to her in 30 days. However accounting of such deposit certainly was provided for her within 39 days it was a negative number and she owed me money. But she keep saying I didn't return her deposit in 30 days. So she wants double. Hello, the accounting of the deposit was provided for you, but no she wants the money. As if that isn't unbelievable enough, she also told the judge that she did not clean the self cleaning oven, why would she? It is self cleaning! And I should not have charged her cause the oven was self cleaning. It was an enlightening day in court. Wonder what the judge will do with all this information?

Small claims Court (by plenty [MO]) Posted on: Feb 28, 2024 6:19 PM

Correction not 39 days but 30 days

Small claims Court (by Vee [OH]) Posted on: Feb 28, 2024 6:36 PM

I have had many of these, send the accounting statement within 30 days, I use the green card so they must sign proving it was delivered hand to hand. Originally on my watch this was law in 1974, Modified August 22, 1990, the damages are deducted from the original deposit held from XXX Move-in date, totaling $XXX, the resulting balance is $XXX, If unpaid could have a negative effect reported to credit tracking agencies, a copy of the accounting statement is shared with any housing subsidy financial department staff.

In OH the tenant will have 14 days to appeal the ruling of the court, this also provides the manager/owner with a new address to use when offering the negative credit rating summary.

Small claims Court (by plenty [MO]) Posted on: Feb 28, 2024 6:42 PM

Missouri only have to prove PROOf of mailing to the address they provided.

Small claims Court (by Small potatoes [NY]) Posted on: Feb 28, 2024 7:04 PM

What small claims court takes weeks? They are typically speedy affairs

Small claims Court (by Wmh [NC]) Posted on: Feb 28, 2024 7:10 PM

Bizarre. Why does the judge have to review such a simple case? And I'm glad you corrected the 39 days - my heart sank at that thinking "oh no for 9 days you might actually owe money" but no.

Small Claims doesn't require a lawyer and it shows :) Some random person told her she was eligible for double deposit return, but they are both idiots.

Did she dispute the CHARGES at all (besides the magic stove?)

Small claims Court (by plenty [MO]) Posted on: Feb 28, 2024 7:16 PM

Yes she dispute painting one wall, which we can only charge her for one gallon of paint and no labor, the wall she hung her TV on. She disputed three charges in the lease, her initials on each page, move in and out pictures. She changed the locks, thought her locks were ok for next resident as she only did this three months before move out. It was a crazy day. We were served papers Dec 16 2023. Guess it takes a while.

Small claims Court (by Ray-N-Pa [PA]) Posted on: Feb 28, 2024 7:59 PM

I return the final accounting on deposits via certified mail. It isn't necessarily about the proof aspect - rather, if a tenant honestly feels they are due a refund - they will sign for that check in the envelope. If they are playing the immature card, they will never get that check.

Small claims Court (by 6x6 [TN]) Posted on: Feb 28, 2024 8:20 PM

I don't understand why the judge wouldn't make a decision right then?

Sounds like you followed the law and have proof. Go to lunch and get ready for your reward as the tenant will owe you.

Small claims Court (by Just Tim [AR]) Posted on: Feb 28, 2024 8:50 PM

Did you file a counterclaim for the balance she owed you?

Small claims Court (by Renne [TX]) Posted on: Feb 28, 2024 8:56 PM

I wonder if the judge was ducking his responsibility and didn't want to deliver the bad news to the tenant in person.

Glad you have great documentation!

I must get one of those stoves for myself. :-)

Small claims Court (by Doogie [KS]) Posted on: Feb 28, 2024 8:59 PM

Had a case where I took a former tenant to small claims. They left the place a total disaster area when they moved out. It was like 60 man hours of cleaning everything out, cleaning, and normal turnover stuff. Anyway, they of course showed up and quoted the same thing you are describing. Judge did not issue a ruling right then either. Sided with me in the end. I often wonder if they know the outcome right then, but make you wait so they don't have to argue with the losing party as to why.

Small claims Court (by Mapleaf18 [NY]) Posted on: Feb 29, 2024 12:19 AM

Yeah the reserved decision is to avoid court room drama.

Civilized behavior is a thing of the past. Courtroom brawls are no longer uncommon.

Small claims Court (by zero [IN]) Posted on: Feb 29, 2024 8:24 AM

Our judge rules right then and there.

Not worried about the drama.

Makes it nicer for all involved as it is all said and done, no waiting or fretting about it.

The last judge always had a bailiff in the courtroom. Saw on more than one occasion where he had the deputy stand between the parties to keep them quiet. --107.147.xx.xx

Small claims Court (by Ken [NY]) Posted on: Feb 29, 2024 10:25 AM

judges dont announce there decision in front of people so the losing party doesnt create violence, they can leave still believing they won --74.77.xx.xx

Small claims Court (by MC [PA]) Posted on: Feb 29, 2024 1:57 PM

My answer was on the docket the next day. Same-pretty sure the judge didn't want the drama.

Small claims Court (by Jim in O C [CA]) Posted on: Feb 29, 2024 2:20 PM

I take probably 80 to 100 before pictures. If I have to go to small claims, I use the pictures I took and take the exact shot of the damaged area so the judge can see before and after. I enjoy seeing the tenant squirm when they are shown that the before and after pictures. If I have a decent judge, I usually win 100%. On occasion I get a judge that feels a little damage is expected. I donít understand how a broken mirror, cracked countertop and holes punched in the wall should be expected, but Iím in California.

Small claims Court (by plenty [MO]) Posted on: Feb 29, 2024 5:10 PM

I had plenty of pictures. Before and after. I gave her a house where the deck was ONE color And she gave me back a house with two colors as she told the judge she tried to power wash the deck and some of the original color came off so she took it up on herself to improve the deck by selecting a color she liked better, when the one gallon ran out she quit and returned the deck half one color, half another color. She told on herself and my pictures backed up her story. Anyways would rather she called and let me do it. She meant well but again it wasn't her house to make these decisions. Just didn't get it, boundaries, contract law, simple.

Small claims Court (by melinda [MD]) Posted on: Feb 29, 2024 8:52 PM

Tenants always get something back.

Small claims Court (by Robin [WI]) Posted on: Feb 29, 2024 9:36 PM

I have a tenant threatening to sue me for improperly withholding her security deposit. She worked really hard to leave the place clean and was fully expecting to get it all back. However, she:

--paid me only half a month's rent because she moved out in the middle of the month (even though the lease states "rent is not prorated at move-out")

--insisted that she didn't have to pay the early termination fee because supposedly a couple of years ago I told her verbally that she was now MTM

--left a pile of trash that I had to pay the city $50 to pick up

--left assorted minor damage (miniblinds, light shade, etc)

I only charged the missing rent and ETF, gave her a $600 credit for leaving behind the fridge and stove, and gave her a $500 "goodwill" credit because she really did try hard. And I could afford it.

In return, I got vitriolic texts from her accusing me of all kinds of horrible things. I finally had to block her. Then I got a call from a "mediator" asking for justification. Turns out that the law requires that if you have an auto-renew clause in your lease, you have to give notice of renewal that is no more than 30 days but no less than 15 days before renewal.

(I pointed out that the law made no sense, that I always gave my tenants MORE than 30 days notice because it's so hard to find a place. He had to go consult with a lawyer and came back with "It needs to be 30-15 days before the NOTICE period." Which the law doesn't say. But I digress.)

Long story short, a judge might decide that the lease WAS MTM because I didn't send the renewal notice, which would mean I unfairly withheld $1500, which would mean treble damages. BUT.

I sent a revised accounting, withdrawing the goodwill credits and charging for everything. Thankfully, because of the credits I'm safe.

Lessons learned: 1) be generous with your goodwill credits, because they can spare you a lawsuit, and 2) make sure you know the nuances of the law!

Small claims Court (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Mar 1, 2024 8:05 AM

From the Revised Missouri Statutes 535.30, Sec 6.

" 6. If the landlord wrongfully withholds all or any portion of the security deposit in violation of this section, the tenant shall recover as damages twice the amount wrongfully withheld."


So she is not entitled to double damages on the entire deposit back, even if you were past the 30 days mark. She is only entitled to any portion you withheld without cause.

Example, let's say the deposit is $1000 and she's demanding $2000. She cannot get $2000. She can only go through each and every items on the charges list, dispute that item, and convince the judge that charge was unreasonable or not owed, and if she prevails on that line item then she gets double on that line item only. So let's say she convinces him on a shower curtain that costs $20 was wrongfully withheld by providing a picture of a new shower curtain that she purchased and left on the way out the door. Whoopie. You owe her double for that ($40). But, if the total balance due was -$100 (you said she owed you still), then that $40 is absorbed by the amount her deposit was short covering all the damages and she still owes you $60.

I am not a lawyer, but the language is fairly straight-forward. So long as you have good documentation of before and after and the charges, you should prevail.

Keep us posted on how it goes.


Small claims Court (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Mar 1, 2024 8:39 AM

Yes those double and triple punitive damages are only if she can prove something WRONGFULLY withheld or improperly documented (such as not at all.) I used to think the entire deposit was at risk regardless, but nope.

Small claims Court (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Posted on: Mar 1, 2024 1:32 PM


My new judge has to "take it under advisement" because he did not know the law, had to look it up or ask someone.

Hang in there plenty!

Congrats on using the ELT! and having your ducks in a row.

Not to worry you but even when the law is on your side and you did everything by the book EVERY court hearing is a bit of a cr*p shoot. Been there many times.

Just gotta roll with it.

THIS is why we charge full full retail prices to cover the times things go ka-fooey.


Small claims Court (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Posted on: Mar 1, 2024 1:33 PM

PS Next time counter sue immediately. It gives YOUR position credibility AND a chance to get paid.


Small claims Court (by Annie [IN]) Posted on: Mar 1, 2024 2:51 PM

The only times we had a judge "take it under advisement" were where the tenant countersued us back. We won both times --- guess they were trying to save face for the tenant :). The tenant had a very weak case, and no paper trail or receipts for their supposed "losses". We, on the other hand, had a paper trail of the tenant's "complaints", and also where we had addressed the complaint or problem.

Small claims Court (by plenty [MO]) Posted on: Mar 2, 2024 1:33 PM

Sid this is exactly how it was explained to me. I did seek wise council when the papers were received. It's interesting, her deposit was $1999 and she wrote it was $1999.99 x 2 but wrote she was asking for $3999.99 which is a penny over her own math, which is $1.98 over my math!!! It was silly. And at the end her claim was she didn't receive ALL her money back within 30 days. And I did of course get the accounting to her with in the 30 days but the accounting is not what she was wanting, she wanted her check !LOL! just can't make this up. I suppose the judge could find something in my lease or accounting to give her something, but it won't anywhere near the amount she is asking for. I have all my proof of mailings and pictures and the less it looked favorable to her the more "funny" she got - like with the self cleaning stove. Why should she have to be charge for that, it's self cleaning. There was no laughter in the court room that day. IT's just sad. Anyways thanks for the suppose and we'll wait patiently for the Judge's ruling. Update you all then. ( Brad there was no ETF involved)

Small claims Court (by MC [PA]) Posted on: Mar 3, 2024 11:24 AM

Might already be online. Don't leave us in suspense. Start a new thread with the answer.

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