Friday, October 19, 2007

A Scandal in Hackensack

Some ambitious prosecutor should look into landlords who use whatever pretext they can to swipe some of their tenants’ security deposits.
I recently left Hekemian & Company’s apartments at the Carlyle in Hackensack.
I didn’t get my entire security deposit back.
I was assessed $135 because of “broklen blinds.” They were broken when we moved in. The manager who decided we were responsible for the broken blinds wasn’t there when we rented the place.
We were also assessed for “items left dirty” in the kitchen. No specifics. And for “dirty” in one bathroom. Again, no specifics.
We had spent a day cleaning the apartment—kitchen, bathrooms, and so forth. (OK, I grant that there was a stain on a wall where a glass of wine had spilled.)
But we had lived in the apartment for four years, and when we left it was in excellent shape. We had no cats, no dogs, no children.
We’re not going to small-claims court for $135. But we’re insulted by the word “dirty.”
I propose that an independent agency evaluate the condition of an apartment before and after tenants leave. It’s grossly unfair to have a landlord make the decision unilaterally.

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