pssssst! brainfag is retired! i'm now at


Evil landlords suck ass

posted in Home Jabber on January 20, 2005

Nearly four months (gawd, has it been that long?) after moving out from our house in Portland, the landlord is now threatening to go to a collections agency. Because not only do they want to keep our $650 deposit, they also claim we OWE them $350. Overall, this is becoming one big lesson. For future reference, just because your landlord and associated flunkies seem benign and ultimately disinterested in the renting process, doesn't mean they won't try to fuck you over when you move out. Also, never paint without permission. And document the hell out of the property when you move in AND move out: take pictures, have a witness, and go over the property condition report with the landlord. Lastly, don't be hungover and stupid when you do the walkthrough, and don't leave ALL of your paperwork with the landlord when you drive away. Learn from my stupidity.

As it stands, I don't have a copy of the lease to see if we signed on a document that says they can charge beyond what our deposit covers, which at this point seems to be the most important issue. I'm not sure what consequences arise from not paying a collection agency, except the obvious fear that it will affect my credit rating.

I really don't want to pursue this in court, not only because it would be a royal pain in the ass and a waste of time, but because we don't have anything to take in our defense. No pictures, no witnesses, and worst of all, I don't even have my copy of the paperwork. Add to that the fact that this is in northeast Portland, a poor, black neighborhood; in a house owned by a black woman, and here are two young honkey boys who left the oven a mess and painted the house without permission. Here's the landlord saying "I try to maintain clean rentals, and this house had all new appliances and vinyl and paint when they moved in."

The fact that we cleaned, steam-vacuumed, patched holes and touch-up painted, cleaned gutters and weeded, left an immaculate basement, yada yada -- doesn't mean jack, apparently. We left a dirty oven. And painted walls. And that is costing us $1,000.

One thing that I can't even bring up is the fact that their handyman is a total jackass, and is obviously charging an excessive amount to make the unit Ready To Rent -- I know he has beef with us, and is partially doing this because we called him on his shit. Every element of plumbing he touched was done wrong, including a leaking bathroom sink with silicone-caulked plastic-threaded fittings, a wobbly new toilet, non-waterproof caulk that peeled around the tub, paint that ran when you took a shower, a mis-cut, oversized pipe from garbage disposal to drain, a leaking seal around the kitchen sink, etc etc. He also spraypainted the heater grills black, directly on the lawn grass, minutes before we moved in -- classy. And he never fixed the back door which was secured with a two-by-four, castle security style. On and on.. And they kept sending the same shlub to fix his own plumbing errors until I finally asked them specifically not to send him because "HE DOESN'T KNOW WHAT HE IS DOING." "Well, Dave's the only person we have to call, but I'll tell him your concern." Oh, great! Tell him I think he's an idiot, then send him to my house! That's brilliant.

So, when the tight-jeans-shorts with tucked in t-shirt chump came along for the walk-through, who promptly ignored returning my greeting, I knew we were in trouble. Because he bills them for whatever he deems necessary, and they pass on the bill to us. It's stupid, really, that they wouldn't 1) realize he's overcharging, and 2) make sure they spend the least amount of money *necessary* to make the place rentable for the next person.

I'm tempted to just send them $170 and say I'm waiting on the other half from Jeremy, just to get this out of my way. But I'm very curious as to what the consequences could be of just ignoring the collections agency. To what extent could it harm my future as a human? Bad credit? That's about all I can think of. Anyone know?

24 comments on this entry

unfortunately it can make it hard to rent again, or buy a house if you ever went that path. in fact, a bank won't even let you close on the house if you haven't cleared up that shit. it's pure fascism. the ownership class holds all the cards.

personally i don't think anyone should own a house they don't live in themselves. but that's just my own wacky tree-hugger communist america-hating faggot-loving creative-weirdo opinion.

scott 1/21/05

Holy shit, Scott, you may have just received the Comment of the Year award -- though it's still early to say for sure.

I do wonder if you'd feel the same if you inherited 5 houses that you rented, made good money off of, and took care of them; didn't take advantage of the tenants, etc. 'Course, then you run into the problem that turns many landlords (that word is suddenly creeping me out) to the dark side: asshole tenants! As I understand it, there are a slew of out there, which is why I always expect the landlord to kiss my feet because I fix my own problems, improve the house with new fixtures, paint and various other dogoodies, pay rent on time (mostly), mow, clean gutters, leave the house cleaner than I found it, etc etc.

But I do understand your faggot weirdo approach to homeowning. It's a tiny cog in the big fucked-up-world-machine, granted, but putting every little dent we can in whatever cog we encounter is a facet of the pinko fag doctrine, no?

It's just hard to bring myself to conceding $1000 of my money (or $500 I guess) should go towards the house I spent $9,204 ($4,602) to sleep in for a year, just because they think they need to return the walls to oh-my-god-how-I-fucking-hate WHITE, replace the stovetop, and have the fridge professionally painted (?? $90!).

nate 1/21/05

yeah, any unoccupied house should be bequeathed to the community at large, and those people who live like within one square mile should decide what happens to it. give it away to someone who they would like to live nearby, or make it into a gallery or woodshop, or use the wood from the house for a skateboard ramp.

it would totally suck to own a rental and have crappy tenants, but that's just basic class conflict. why take care of something you don't own? so if everyone owned their house, then they would all be taken care of properly. but alas, there is that disease of profit-motive always looming.

i just watched a documentary about the "weather underground" last night, so my thinking is especially radical today.

scott 1/21/05

Interesting concept. Sounds very much like anarchy -- or is that communism? I guess the latter. Either way, it also sounds like an all-too-intelligent and profit-less concept that I just can't see working in our meathead society.

I'm fine with taking care of something I don't own -- as long as the larger responsibilities (ie: taxes, cost of materials for repair, substantial improvements on the property, etc) are taken care of. There's a benefit to this system that works especially well in a symbiotic, balanced relationship between owner and tenant -- I keep my life simple & low-impact, while the owner merits profits from extended responsibilities and paper work.

However, the system breaks down in a hurry when either party is neglectful or malicious in any way. And that brings up a noodle salad of another issue: our legal system being the forum for mediation. Good lord, what a convoluted, corrupt and assbackwards mess of a system that rarely does any good to anyone.

But when the rental system works, I enjoy the simplicity. It's been pleasant a few times out of the dozen places I've rented.

nate 1/21/05

there's a nice bunch of overlap with anarchy and communism.

speaking of profit-motive and ignoring it, i'm sending out some postcards that have a blank front for drawing/painting/collaging on and a stamp already on them for easy return to me. all the ones i get back i'll post on my website. find out more here:

the website probably has some blind links right now because i'm just finishing it up, but that page should be fine. if you want some postcards to do, let me know how many you want, and i'll send some along. and you can pass some out to other creatives for them to do and drop in a mailbox.

spread the word, spread the joy, and lose money all at the same time. what a combo.

scott 1/21/05

I'll take two. I can pass one down to my creative downstairs neighbors -- who, in fact, are a hub of their own mail art collective, Mail is Neat. My addy is on the footer, as well as in the About section. Cool idea!

nate 1/21/05

scott, natron's nephew, aaron beaty, is an aspiring artist and would love to get one of your cards! send to 59940 hopi rd, bend, or. 97702. thanks

yobro 1/21/05

it's on the way for natron's nephew. thanks for your interest.

for anyone else not related to nate, please send an sase (self addressed, stamped envelope) to the po box on this page.

it's going to be really cool when it gets rolling.

scott 1/21/05

i sent some along to your nephew, you and i've already sent an email to joseph asking how many he wanted. i figure he can put some in his mail to people he knows are artists. i sent a few to you.

scott 1/21/05

if it gets to court, they can ALSO get you for court fees, lawyers, etc if they want to be really nasty.

jude 1/28/05

I had a bad debt that has been in collections since 1999 and never resolved and all that happens is that it sits on my credit and I get a piece of paper in the mail every 6 months. I say ignore it. Granted, I'm a communist jerk like that too.

Joe 2/17/05

If it goes to court and you loose there is a judgement against you. This is really bad on your credit, worst than just a collection on your credit. Also, once they have a judgement they can garnishe your wages or have the court take your property to pay your debt. You should have had written permission to make changes to the property. I'm a landlord and I freely give permission for things like this but it must be in writing and done tastfully. That is no Black paint for instance. Landlords make very little on thier houses. I know alot of them that rent for less than thier mortgage, insurance, and taxes not to mention cost of repairs. If a landlord makes $50 per month over all expenses and set asides he is doing well. I'm tired of all the communist who think profit is bad and that landlords are rich or evil. The only rich landlords I know are the ones who work day and night for years. When other people leave work at 5 PM and forget about thier jobs and have a fun or relaxing evening at home, landlords are showing vacant homes and out inspecting or working on all the government paperwork. Ok, if I where in your shoes right now, knowing what I know I would do the following:

1. Don't ignore the landlord or the collection agency. Write them a letter right away disputing the charges and demanding your money back and demanding all paperwork that they have to base thier bills on, including the lease.

2. Get a quote in writing about how much it would cost to paint the room back to white that you painted. Probably something like $100 not 650.

3. Get a quote from a cleaning service about how much to come in and clean a stove one time. Probable about $50.

4. GO TO COURT - DO NOT MISS IT. If you miss your court date you automatically loose.

5. Take your quotes and tell the judge you should only pay the $100 or whatever your quote is and the $50 or whatever your quote is. Also if you requested the lease and bills in writing before the court from your landlord and your landlord did not provide them to you, then now is the time to also tell the judge the landlord has not been cooperative in helping you determine what the real costs are.

6. Call you legal aid in the area before the court date and find out your rights. In many states if the landlord did not properly notify you then you don't loose any of your deposit.

7. Stop bitching and take action. Or just pay the thing.


George 3/3/05


Thanks for the response.. good to hear the side of a landlord.

The last thing I did was send a SASE asking for my copy of the lease and damage report I left at the walkthrough. They sent them to me, along with receipts for the storm window (that wasn't present at move in, tho I have no photo proof of this), and the stovetop. Odd, as I'm not denying they PAID for these things, but rather that I'm not RESPONSIBLE for what it cost.

Yes, asking permission to paint was definitely my biggest mistake. I did it with my last landlord, so I don't know why I didn't with this one. But we did paint it tastefully, and it definitely improved the space.. Regardless, we should have asked, or just repainted it white on moveout.

After that last letter, I've heard nothing further from them, and received no letters from a collection agency. Maybe they're as disinterested in following up on collecting the $340 they claim we owe as I am in contesting them keeping my $650. Or maybe she realized the $650 was enough to squeeze from my poor honkey ass. Or maybe this was all an elaborate ploy to make me happy they ONLY took my $650 deposit.

It's now been almost 6 months since I moved out and month since I heard from them last.

I have no doubt the landlord has all the receipts for the work she claims was done, and she's followed the laws with notification and paperwork on her end. If it ever did go to court, it would come down to my word against hers (and her photos & paperwork), which I very much doubt would lean in my direction, unfortunately.

If I *do* get a collections notice, I will definitely follow your advice. Thanks again for writing.

nate 3/3/05

Sorry for your problem, I am having the same situation in Deschutes County. Being overcharged for things not mentioned at the move out inspection.

Carla 5/12/05

Well, the worst has happened. I just got a notice from a collections that Noell Webb is pursuing the $348 BEYOND the $650 she already has of ours. This is so fricking irritating.. terrible timing as well as just offensive that this landlord doesn't see the injustice in squeezing $1050 out of tenants that made the place immaculate before leaving and never asked for anything while living there. Bad timing in that I am insanely busy, and then I go to NY for a week.

I do plan on taking this to court, though. I have to get estimates on cleaning the oven and painting the livingroom, kitchen and bedroom. And I get to craft a new letter to Noell, fun fun fun.

nate 5/12/05

I think you should go on "Peoples Court" or "Judge Judy". Or wait, better yet, "American Gladiator". Who ever can take on Nitro gets $1050.

dorky 5/12/05

never rent from a guy named shannon torgler in ordway colorado he dont fix anything and he wants you to live with rats an a whole lot more bull crap i am disabled and i cant take it any more alos someone has been lurking around the outside late at nite trying to get into my car trunk why i have no idea i guess looking for something to steal i have been told that he has guys who work for him an he will have them to break into your house when you are not home and rip you off for everything you own well if the get caught doing by me i will blow that sucker away.

Anonymous 5/24/05

Your LL report was cool man. i came across it trying to find some type of agency to report my apartment complex to. This apartment complex in Tulsa, Oklahoma called "Fox Fire" located on 71st & wheeling has a Bed Bug infestation. and when i told these clown the they sent their dumb exterminator and he sad yeah ill come back and spray for these in a week well 3 weeks late and 15 phone calls the landlord tells me that he has been in their already. So i was like what time did he come on friday which is his schedule spray day they said some time between 10-2pm. So after calming down i told that dumb chick for the past 3 week ive been waiting on that clown to come & since i was in the house from 7am to 3pm and he never showed what are ya'll doing and they was like well deal with it attitude. but any way that was 05/02/2006 and well they still playing me so now iam lashing out trying to get !JUSTICE! so tell everyone to stay the F away from FOX FORE in TUL,OK...

& if you want to know how gangsta Bed Bugs are then go here and read up on them >>>

chevell 6/14/06

Your landlord sounds like a jackass I rented fromin Colorado Springs. His name is Tim Campbell and he did pretty much the same thing to me. We moved out and left the house in better shape than when he bought it. (He bought it fromthe previous landlord while we were living there) We did a walkthrough and had him sign that he understood what he was buying. Then when we moved out, he charged us a full extra days rent to turn in the keys and garage door opener! He kept $1000 of our deposit because when he bought the house, he did not have our deposit. He just claimed it was for "cleaning" the house. Mind you, we steamed vaccuumed the whole place and hired professional cleaners. He charged us $700 for the carpets, $20 each to dust off a ceiling fan and other extravagant made-up charges just so he didn't have to caugh up any money. He knew what condition the house was in when he bought it and knew that he was going to make me pay to fix it up for him. I even had to make repairs to the garbage disposal because he was too damn cheap to replace it. When he bought a refridgerator, I had to hook up the water for the freezer, but I guess that didn't count for anything. It would have cost me more to take the sorry SOB to court than I would have gotten back. He knows he screwed us over and that is his plan for anyone else stupid enough to rent a house on Catskill Lane in Colorado Springs from a guy named Tim Campbell. If you are ever thinking about renting from this guy, DON"T DO IT!!!!

Michael 8/8/06

Dan Shores is a terrible land lord in St. Joseph, Missouri, he is the greediest most absentee landlord in the entire city. He is also crazy because he inflates his financial estimates so much you would think he is the leader of Weimar Germany.
I rented from him for 10 months even though the lease said 12. For of all let me say that the lease is not a contract, alright, I took contract law and for a contract to be binding you must have mutual obligations of both parties. If my only option is sign to rent then it is not a contract check contract law. Well he never repaired anything, never asked me what I needed, gave me some free shit he was going to throw in the dumpster but never checked on me and I had to live next to his queerly odd son. So anyway the neighborhood is filled up with assholes and drug houses so I moved two months early but I moved within five days of realizing I could not pay my rent there as I had put down money on a new place on the other side of town. He now wants two months rent, $ 300 in damages, etc. and he never subtracted out my deposit from that estimate. He inflated the repairs saying it took him $ 65 to move the old refrigerator out and because my ice tea left a ring on the white cabients he would have to replace them and the old carpet in the kitchen because something spilled from the countertop on it while I was cooking, blah blah blah. He turned it over to a collection agency and I swear to God if I get one call he gets 10 from the following groups: Asbestos Cleanup, Jehovah Witnesses, Mormosn, SDAs, Branch B'hai, Harai Krishna, UPCI, whoever is crazy enough to bother him plus he will start getting mail from the ACLU to educate him as well. A lease is not a contract because one party cannot negotiate it is just a form I would like to see these form leases held up in court. My new landlord Uncle Milty rented me a place with loud next door neighbor and it is overran with nats, ants, leaky room, a broken back screen door I removed and the bathroom looks like something out of Dante's Inferno. IT is still better than my old place. Here is the message to landlords, you fuch with us tenants we can strike back and strike back hard, Amen.

Kevin W 12/2/06

Basicall renting is suks, it is a waste of moey, it doesn't pay of anything, only thingit does is helps your lord buy their own shit..

Some lando's are ok, but NEVR live on the same property with on, they wil drive you crazy...

peter 1/25/07

Peter, peter, so true. All the lord wants is your shit. And that doesn't pay of anything. One word for you: Calrissian.. right? Right!

Nate 1/25/07


CAROL 2/9/07

Wow. Looks like a good time to close off the comments on this Google trap.

Nate 2/9/07

Commenting closed.