The Envelope, please

When you throw away your envelope, you might be throwing away your case.

Time and again, we tell renters to keep the envelopes in which the landlord’s correspondence was sent. All too often we hear, “Oh, I threw it away. I didn’t know it was important.”

That could not be more wrong.

Remember, landlord-tenant relations are based in the legal arena. Notices are required. There are deadlines for responses.

So, when landlords evade or neglect their duties, it is important to catch them in the act. You need proof. Many times, landlords who miss deadlines try to hide that fact by back-dating the correspondence. But, a tenant can prove otherwise with evidence the document was actually mailed at a different time.

Bear in mind, there may not only be a postmark to observe. If the letter was sent by certified or registered mail, then you also can track the associated number at the post office website, which is www.usps.com.

For example, under A.R.S. § 33-1321(D), a landlord must refund the amount of security deposit due, less an itemized list of deductions, within fourteen business days from termination of tenancy, delivery of possession, and demand (typically, that is about twenty calendar days, depending on weekends and holidays - count to be sure). Oftentimes, landlords miss the deadline, but in order to cover their tracks they backdate the response document notwithstanding that it was mailed way too late.

The key arguments are waiver of claim, and statutory damages due. If the landlord failed to respond within the fourteen days, then it is too late to do so afterwards. At that point, the landlord will be liable for not only returning the amount wrongfully withheld, but also statutory damages of twice that amount. For some tenants, this could amount to thousands of dollars.

That envelope could be worth quite a pretty penny. Don’t let a landlord get away with scamming the courts and stealing from you.

- Ken Volk -

2 Responses to “The Envelope, please”

  1. Linda Zembry Says:

    Isn’t there a website out there who REALLY is an advocate on behalf of tenants who do NO wrong, pay their rent ON time, etc…and still live with monthly landlord abuse!!??? This website supports all the landlord rights and scares the hell out of a GOOD TENANT! This website thinks ALL tenants are negligent for a multitude of reasons…”cover your ass mentality” or you have lost before you have even started. Please, give tenants like myself a break! Not everyone has “stupid” written on their forehead. Paradise Lakes Apts in north central Phoenix (now know as Valeso) has gotten away with absolute internal property and tenant abuse for years. Three owners in 4.5 years and even more “new management” changes (sure) in as much time. Someone needs to hold these people accountable….perhaps an investigative reporter is the answer….wouldn’t you know, I just happen to know one. Now, who is going to investigate this website to GIVE tenants strength and support….not “do not open the envelope” preaching. We are NOT attorneys, we are everyday Americans trying to eke out a living. Don’t diminish our efforts, encourage them and stand behind us. Landlords need to be held accountable and tenants need NOT have to take up their living space with landlord litter. What ever happened to phone records? Calls made and NEVER returned???!! What ever happened to family/friends attesting to the the “going’s on” at your rental property!!?? Let’s be practical and make sense. I, personally, feel NO ONE should sign a lease….then you ALWAYS have an option!!! RUN!

  2. Suzanne Davis Says:

    What if there is no envelope? Our mobile home park tapes or hangs rent bills and notices on our doors. I once paid a large penalty for not paying a bill I didn’t receive, and once I received someone else’s receipt.
    We are also charged $25 for the delivery (attached to a door) of any notice of noncompliance.

Leave a Reply