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Landlord demanding security dep after almost 1.5 years of tenant occupancy

Posted by K Althaus on October 18, 2000 at 03:42:56:

Someone HELP!!! :)

My landlord wants my roomates and I to pay $700 for a security deposit after I have lived here since april 1999.
Here's the quick facts:
State: Arizona
3 tenants:
1 since april 99 (me)
1 since august 99
1 since august 2000

rent: $600.00 monthly
Lease: none - month to month (have receipt for rent)
Deposits: none
written contracts: none

I moved in while 2 other people lived here, they moved out and 2 other people moved in, 1 is my fiance.

On october 13, 2000 my landlord came to the house and stated that he feels that we have not kept the yard clean. Being that we reside in Arizona it does get hot during the summer months. Either way he says the yard has not been kept up. When I ask him what needs to be kept up (it's a gravel yard with a bush) he says that weeds need to be pulled, and the bush trimmed. So he now wants a 700 dollar security deposit. We can make payments on the deposit, but he wants 400-500 dollars by the end of the week. Please be advised that during my stay there has not been any walk throughs by anyone to see what the condition of the house is. I can tell you the house is kept clean, it is not abused in ANY way, and we are friendly to the neighbors.

While living here a number of maintenance issues have come up:
Toilet not working (thank god we have 2)
Ducting system for the Air Conditioner not finished (house stays above 90 degrees during the day in the summer with the AC down to 79 degrees, you can break a sweat watching TV)
Windows either don't have screens, or don't lock
driveway is not up to city code, and if anyone parks there a citation can be given
Landlord stores a trailer full of 'stuff' in the backyard, plus has other misc. stuff (washers, stove) in the backyard
Laundry water backs up into kitchen sink when the washer drains

Landlord lives out of state and has not officially appointed a manger for the property. When we called the landlord in april regarding the re-repair of plumbing, he told us that if we call agian with problems with the house, he is going to raise our rent. At the time we just went along with the problems because we didn't want rent to increase, but now with the situation of this security deposit, we want to know what action we can take to protect ourselves.

Also, he told us that if anyone calls asking for him that we are to say 'he is not here right now' and that he is going to send himself mail here. Basically he wants to maintain residency in this state while living in another state for what he calls 'tax reasons'.

I have read the tenant and landlord rights. It states that the landlord must register this rental house with the state. I am reasonably sure this has not happened.

What can I do to protect myself, and if your asking, yes we are looking for somewhere else to live :(

Thank you for your time
Kevin Althaus
ICQ 13633426

Thank You

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