Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Art Of Real Estate Self-Defense

Just as I predicted, my relationship with my landlord has deteriorated. The guy is on the expressway to bankruptcy and his true colors are coming out. He's got a permanent scowl on his face and for a couple months now has been itching to lash out at me for anything.

I've tried to kill him with kindness, ignore him, even jump through hoops to avoid him. But yesterday I had a serious altercation with him and our relationship might very well have hit an inflection point.

The best thing to do when emotions are running high is always *nothing*. So I'll strive for that - now anyway. I've ignored his BS for quite a while. Yesterday I decided to push back.

If y'all remember, I am renting a ticking foreclosure (guy owes $1.2 million on a $600,000 valued house). Heck, a bank could knock on the door today and tell me they are repossessing the house. My best intelligence tells me my Moronic landlord is actually still current on his mortgage payments - though I wouldn't stake my life on it.

None of this was unforeseen. See the link I posted above. For 12 months now, I have been contemplating the multitudinous ways I could handle this guy that has not only the power to upset my chi, but also has $5,000 of my money.

I got to some googling last night and discovered this:

You are entitled to the immediate return of your Massachusetts security deposit if the landlord...:
  • fails to make the security deposit records available for inspection during office hours;
  • or fails to provide you, within 30 days of receipt of the security deposit, a receipt with the name and location of the bank and the amount and account number of the deposit;
  • makes deductions for damages and fails to furnish you with an itemized list of damages within 30 days after termination of tenancy;
  • or uses a lease which contain provisions conflicting with the security deposit law and attempts to enforce these provisions or attempts to get you to sign a waiver of rights.

Under the above-mentioned circumstances, the landlord cannot keep your security deposit for any reason, including making deductions for damages.
And if the landlord fails...

  • to deposit the security deposit into a bank account;
  • to return the security deposit (or balance after lawful deductions) with interest within 30 days after termination of tenancy;
  • or to transfer the security deposit or last month's rent to the new landlord;

... you are entitled to the immediate return of your security deposit AND triple damages, plus court costs, and reasonable attorney's fees. You also are entitled to triple damages, court costs, and reasonable attorney's fees if the landlord fails to pay interest on the last month's rent within 30 days after termination of tenancy.

Hmmmmm. I certainly never got *a receipt with the name and location of the bank and the amount and account number of my security deposit*.

If my lunatic landlord doesn't back off, he's going to get a notice to return my security deposit plus "triple damages". It'll come from an attorney that's he's going to have to pay for!

Heck, if I am going live in the Commi-wealth of Massachusetts, I may as well take advantage of its ridiculous laws and regulations when I can!

I've got to play this game wisely though. He is a BIG dude, a liar, a crook, and a hothead who's losing his entire *livelihood* via bankruptcy. I'd hate to have underestimated how crazy he is - especially considering me and my family are living in, well, what he thinks is his house. Safety is my first concern.

Though ego and money are a close second and third.


Anonymous said...

Hi Captious Nut,

I thought of one of your posts when I read a book last night. It is "Whatever happened to Penny Candy". It is a good read on economics. I am a beginning homeschooling dad and have seen the book in a number of homeschooling catalogs. It was given to us by a friend the other day and is very good. We are looking into the Sonlight curriculum presently. I like the whole world view that they try to cover. Your post on sports a while back hit the nail on the head. It is a religion to many people.


CaptiousNut said...


It's beyond a religion. For many, sports has become idolatrous.

Haven't yet heard of the book or "Sonlight". Will give them both a looksie. Thanks.

CaptiousNut said...


First comment on Amazon's Whatever Happened to Penny Candy page from the "School Library Journal":

Maybury has used a series of letters as a clever technique to present some basic economics lessons. In brief chapters, the breezy text explains terms such as recession, inflation, money, the wage/price spiral, and Gresham's Law. But the book lacks thoughtful analysis. Reminiscent of many letters to the editor, Maybury's style of economic reasoning is simplistic and biased against government.

Biased against government? I like it already. Amazon readers, notwithstanding that biased-in-favor-of-government Journal give the book five out of five stars. Pretty impressive.