What if I think the itemized list of damages made to my apartment is wrong (for whatever reason) or have a question about the final accounting?

Posted on January 20, 2011

The primary contact on the account should receive the accounting and refund, or invoice, if any. We are happy to investigate any questions you may have. Send us a note.

If you have any questions whatsoever about your final accounting, we will look into it for you, no problem! Please have one of the named lessees send us a written note describing the details of your question and requesting what you would specifically like done.

A written note

Please don’t call us—it takes time to diligently investigate your concerns and we cannot do it while you wait. It is much better to generate a paper-trail and send us a simple note.

In many cases, you are concerned about something immediate and you want it handled. We get that. You may even be upset, and we get that too, but we won’t know exactly what you are talking about and we won’t have had time to investigate your question or concern right then and there because it can take time to look at what you want us to look at–for example, if you think we missed something that was on the move in but you were charged for it on the move out.

Its much smoother if you simply send us a written note initially so we can take the time to effectively research your question or concern.

From ONE person named on the lease, generally the primary contact

Please get together with your fellow leasemates if you are on a jointly and severally liable lease and come up with a single list. Remember, because you are all jointly and severally liable, we have to address all of you as a group. Similarly, any modification to an invoice, or to the amount of refund due to you, has to pass through the primary contact. Whoever this person is, he or she will be acting on behalf of all parties to the lease.

Its important to understand that such communication must come from someone named on the lease and replies will always be to the primary contact. For example, parents are not a party to the lease, and we cannot discuss your private account with them.

The details of your question

Please describe the details of any questions or concerns you may have. We need enough to be able to research the questions. Be matter of fact and descriptive, e.g. “The itemization includes light bulbs throughout the living room, but those lights all worked when we left” or “The doorstop in the downstairs bedroom on the left was broken when we moved in and never fixed during the year.” This is really helpful for us when we look into what’s wrong. Statements and/or questions that are emotional, complaining about people or us but not about specific things we can help you with, and/or not descriptive of a problem or question are much harder for us to work with or do anything about.

What would you like us to do?

If its simply a question you’d like answered, we are happy to look into or explain a situation. If you want something done, please tell us what you think it should be. We have a better idea of how to help you if we know not only what your question or concern is, but also if you have something you would like. We may not agree to do it, but it gives us a shared place to start from.

A few common concerns, and answers

“Painting and/or cleaning is normal wear and tear, and you can’t charge for normal wear and tear.” Painting and carpet cleaning are specifically contractually excluded from the definition of “normal wear and tear”–please refer to section 6 of your lease agreement and understand that this position has been consistently upheld by Indiana courts for decades. Moreover, realistically, but not really relevant: what happens to many of our homes over the course of a year is often far more than what happens in owner-occupied homes over, well, 10+ years.

“X was like that when we moved in.” Okay, we may have missed it. Here’s what we can do: you tell us X was present at move in. We need to know if you reported it on the move-in form (or some other way soon thereafter). If you DID have it on the move in, then we will check to see if we ever addressed, during your occupancy–that is, do we have a closed work order to address the issue. If no work order exists, we are really sorry that it wasn’t fixed, and we will handle the charge, and wish you had reported it during your stay! If a work order does exist and was closed, we will do some more investigation regarding whether and how it was addressed and will report our decision via the primary contact.

If we, and you, have no record of reporting it, then any associated charge will remain in place. If you have been a respectful, and have a solid history with us, we will consider a request for good will, but remember, this is a request for us to do you a favor, not something to demand.

“$X is outrageous for doing Y.” and the related comment “I could have done Y for $Z.” For the latter, all we can say is, well, then you should have handled it but for some reason, you chose not to do so, so then we had to assign time and materials to the task. We can often do things ourselves for less, or at least we often think we can, especially with seemingly simple things, like light bulbs, or maybe blinds (but there is also always a lost opportunity cost when we do, as well as a learning curve), but when we pay someone else to do it, our charges include the cost of the goods but also the cost of the time to get those goods and to go install them. Overall, in terms of pricing, costing occurs two ways. We, at our sole discretion, either pass along the charges billed to us by our vendors and third-party contractors, or we use a pricing sheet of standardized prices, that is incorporated by reference in your lease/policies and procedures.

It simply costs money to fix things, clean things (baseboards, fans, and appliances any one?), or paint them. Of course, if something seems totally out of line, we are of course happy to investigate it for you. But sometimes things just are shockingly costly. A great example of this is fridge parts. Break those little bars, or a drawer, and it costs quite a lot to replace them.

Short story: Please send us a written request stating exactly what you’d like us to research. We are happy to investigate your question or concern.