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Apartment owner refuses to return security deposit - pls help..

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msmuffin


Arresto Menor
Hello,

I found a vacant room from a nearby bldg with cheaper rent. The caretaker asked for security deposit of P5000 (1 month's worth of rent)to 'reserve' it. I paid the amount that day (Aug 16). The caretaker promised to have the room cleaned since it has been unoccoupied for 3 months and that they will put a backdoor first VIA the bathroom so I can access the balcony and that they will also fix the bathroom. It was agreed I can move in Sep 2 when it is 'liveable.' By then I have to pay another two months advance(P10000). When I returned Sep2, I was horrified to see that they put the 'backdoor' right smack in the middle of the room and they used an old bathroom door with open slated panels. It stuck out like a sore thumb. She's also asking me to pay for the repainting of the wall where the door was installed. I also asked why they installed a door with open panels knowing that the room has AC. She said I have to have the new door covered with plywood, again at my own expense. They also did not fix the bathroom lighting and its bare ceiling. The flush still doesn't work. I realized it is going to be more of an expense instead of a bargain moving there. The room was modest but now it is not even worth the rent. I asked if I can get my deposit back instead. She said I can but only if someone else takes over the room. By Sep 6, she texted that someone else already paid for the room and is going to move in. I can have the other vacant room at a higher price. I said I just want my 5000 back but they said it was already "consumed." The receipt says 'advance payment P5000' but I did not sign anything that says it is nonrefundable. The owner refuses to speak to me or give her number. Only the caretaker relays the messages back and forth via texts. Do I have the right to ask for the full amount? I saved all their texts. Also, there were two other people with me when the caretaker said I can only get the money when someone else moves in. As of now, they refuse to reply to my texts and the last offer was partial refund (2500). Thanks for any legal advice you can give. I do not want to go through the hassle of a Baranggay summon. Is there any legal way to make them refund my money? :-(

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attyLLL


moderator
your remedy is to send a demand letter and to file a complaint at the bgy then a small claims case. rules on sc.judiciary.gov.ph.


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xperia


Arresto Menor
Hi Atty,

I am glad that we do have a forum like this wherein ordinary people can ask questions to appropriate people.

I rented an apartment back in 2010 in Fairview, QC. I signed a contract for a year and it's stated in the contract that I will get the 2 month's deposit back (P15,000.00) 45 day after I leave the apartment. I immigrated to other country after I left the said apartment. So, the owner and I agreed that she will give the deposit back by depositing it to my bank account. Several months passed and still no money being deposited to my account. So, I decided to call the owner and she said because her husband just passed away she did not have money to return my deposit. She asked me If I could wait and I was fine with that. I waited for a year and I did not get any from her. I decided to send her a demand letter and if she won't be taking actions I would send it to authorities. I did not hear from her again. So, I decided to send the documents to my sister-in-law to get the money in my behalf. My sister-in-law went there and talked to her and she agreed that she will give it back by end of July 2011. She did deposit P3,000.00 instead of P13,000.00. After we demanded to get the remaining P10,000.00, she refused. My family back home decided to file a complaint to the Brgy. in Fairview and the official did nothing. They went to PAO and said that the case is weak.

My questions are:

1. Would it be enough to just give my mother or sister-in-law a Power Of Attorney to get the money on my behalf?

2.The owner is saying that the signatory in the contract which is her husband is dead already so I could not do anything about it.
Isn't that if the husband died the wife takes over all his liabilities? The fact that she signed the contract as witness.

3. Where do we go from here? What government agency should be talk to?

4. What is the consensus of this case? Is it strong enough to file it even if I am here abroad and just my mother or sister would be the one who will represent me?

5. Can we ask for additional payments for damages and delays?

Please enlighten me what would be the next step.
Thank you so much. I really appreciate your help. God bless.

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xperia


Arresto Menor
Atty,

I have come across this Small Claims Cases. I would like to know where are the locations of these first level courts in Fairview, QC and in Caloocan where we can file the case? By the way, the SPA should be coming from the country where I am now and I will just send it to them?

Thank you.

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msmuffin


Arresto Menor
Hello Atty,

Thanks for your reply. I filed a formal complaint at our brgy and we had the hearing earlier. I was just surprised that it was not the Brgy Captain who presided and he said that he can only mediate between us but not decide for us. As expected we reached a deadlock on the lack of contract. My main argument is that as stated in the receipt (advance payment), I paid 5000 in advance for something I intend to use in September but since that was not consummated, I expect the full amount back. The landlady's response to that is that it is already considered an income to their part thus nonrefundable and if i take it back it is a loss of income. Neither of us is budging and the brgy official said that if we don't agree on an amount, the issue will just be escalated until it reaches the courts which I believe is not necessary for the small amount. What I needed was the brgy to decide whose side to uphold. I had to compromise tho since the landlady will charge all the expenses and the penalties to the caretaker if the issue gets escalated and the poor woman was shaking out of fright. Also, someone from their party contacted me just before the hearing that the landlady is a cancer survivor thus I should just compromise and not stress her- this affected me much since my father just recently passed away of cancer. It was a one way ticket for a guilt trip. It also did not help that the brgy rep was chatting merrily with the respondent telling her that he is a family friend of theirs and knows her mother for quite some time. Barely 15 mins after the hearing started, he was already asking me to reach a decision on the amount which is 2500. I was really furious at how the hearing was being handled and although my tone was calm it was dripping with poison as I declared that let it be put to writing that I don't agree to their terms but will accept the partial refund for the sole reason that pursuing it further is a waste of time and an insult to a reasonable person's intellect.

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attyLLL


moderator
ms muffin, the effect is still the same. your claim is terminated by your acceptance of the P2,500 regardless of your motivations.

xperia, have your spa notarized at the philippine consulate or embassy. you can file the small claim case either at your residence or hers. look for the hall of justice near the city hall


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