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Decisions and Orders for Security Deposit Cases
Highlighted: 2006 - 2010

This page contains summaries of Decisions and Orders for Security Deposit cases.  To view the summary, click on the Case Number.  To view the complete Decision and Order, click on the Case Number contained in the summary.

To see a complete list of all Decisions and Orders of Security Deposit Cases please click here

Case # Case Name Date Order Issued Prevailing Party/Award
29627 Nseyo/McElroy vs. Quispe Dec. 17, 2008 Tenant $5,140.00
28378 Johns vs. Danesh Sept. 21, 2007 Tenant $1,610.38
27633 Watson vs. Valencia June 12, 2007 Landlord Dismissed
26722 Griffin vs. Glusing Oct. 25, 2006 Tenant $1,583.63
26348 Hill vs. Kevin Maloney May 15, 2006 Tenant $729.22
25946 Holmes vs. Daryush Farazad May 5, 2006 Tenant $1,479.00
26559 Wubu vs. Phan May 3, 2006 Tenant $1,418.03
26326 Baer vs. Clark, et al Jan. 26, 2006 Tenant $2,960.02
26025 Payne vs. Forbes Jan. 4, 2006 Tenant $1,437.10

 

Case Summaries


Nseyo and McElroy vs. Quispe and Ledezma

Case #  29627
Date Order Issued  December 17, 2008
Subject  Improper Rent Increase and Reduced Value of Rental Property

Summary of Complaint
Ruth Nseyo and Mary McElroy (“Complainants”) filed a complaint alleging that their Respondents, Ciro Quispe and Rebeca Ledezma ("Respondents"): (1) without proper notice increased their rent by $610.00 a month midway through their 12-month tenancy, which constituted a breach of the lease and a rental increase more than once in a twelve month period, in violation of Section 29-54(a), Landlord-Tenant Relations, of the Montgomery County Code, 2001, as amended (“County Code”); (2) failed to make needed and necessary repairs to the Property, in violation of Section 29-30(a)(3) of the County Code; and (3) rental them two bedrooms that were subsequently condemned by the Department’s Division of Housing and Code Enforcement (“Code Enforcement”), which substantially reduced the value of the rental property for the remainder of their tenancy.

The Complainants were seeking an Order from the Commission for the Respondents to: (1) refund all of the improper rent increase they paid, $610.00 a month for five months, January 2008 through May 2008, for a total amount of $3,050.00, and (2) refund a portion of rent paid from May 16, 2008, the date two basement bedrooms in the Property were condemned by Code Enforcement, until the termination of their tenancy, July 31, 2008.

The Respondents contended that: (1) the Complainants agreed to and paid the mid-term rent increase; (2) they made all necessary repairs to the Property; and (3) they were unaware that the basement bedrooms, which were subsequently condemned by Code Enforcement, did not comply with Chapter 26, Housing and Building Maintenance Standards, of the Montgomery County Code (“Housing Code”), when the Property was rented to the Complainants.

Findings
The Commission found that: (1) The Respondents substantially breached the lease by improperly increasing the Complainants’ rent by $610.00 a month for the final 5 months of the lease term, which constituted a violation of Section 29-54 of the County Code and was an attempt by the Respondents to coerce the Complainants into paying a higher rent under the threat of eviction; and (2) the condemnation of the basement bedrooms as unsafe and unfit for human habitation reduced the number of usable bedrooms in the Property from 5 to 3, which reduced the value of the Property by 50% for two and one-half (2 ½) months, from May 16, 2008, until the termination of the tenancy, July 31, 2008.

The Order
The Commission ordered the Respondents to pay the Complainants $5,140.00, which amount represents damages incurred by the Complainants as a result of the improper notice of rent increase ($2,500.00), plus a refund of 50% of the rent paid by the Complainants for the period May 16, 2008 through July 31, 2008 ($2,640.00).Case #: 28378, Johns v. Danesh


Johns vs. Danesh

Case #  28378
Date Order Issued  Septerber 21, 2007
Subject  Security Deposit

Summary of Complaint
Avis Johns (“Tenant”) filed a complaint alleging that her former landlord, Majid Danesh (“Landlord”): (1) without a reasonable basis failed to refund any portion of her $1,395.00 security deposit plus accrued interest after the termination of her tenancy; (2) assessed unjust charges against her security deposit after the termination of her tenancy; and (3) failed to refund to her a rent credit of $195.45.

The Landlord contended that: (1) he had properly issued the Complainant an itemized list of damages within 45-days of the termination of her tenancy; and (2) the security deposit plus accrued interest and rent credit were properly withheld due to damage the Complainant caused to the Property that was in excess of ordinary wear and tear and an unpaid utility bill.

The Complainant was seeking an Order from the Commission that the Respondent refund her entire $1,395.00 security deposit and accrued interest in the amount of $20.93, plus a rent credit in the amount of $194.45.  In addition, the Complainant was seeking a penalty of up to threefold the unreasonably withheld amount of her security deposit plus accrued interest.

Findings
The Commission found that: (1) the Landlord failed to comply with the requirements of Section 8-203.1 of the State Code by providing the Tenant with a receipt for her payment of security deposit that advised her: (A) of her right to have the Property inspected for the purpose of making a written list of damages at the commencement of tenancy; (B) her right to be present when the Landlord inspected the Property at the end of the tenancy in order to determine if damage was done; and (C) that failure by the Landlord to comply with the requirements of § 8-203.1 could result in the Respondent being liable for a penalty of up to 3 times the amount of the security deposit withheld plus reasonable attorneys fees; (2) based on his failure to comply with Section 8-203.1 of the State Code, the Landlord had forfeited his right to withhold any portion of the Tenant’s security deposit for damage in excess of ordinary wear and tear, or damage which was the result of a breach of the Lease; (3) the Landlord failed to substantiate that he incurred actual costs for many of the damages claimed against the Complainant’s security deposit, and the assessment of $1,842.77 against the security deposit to repair damage which was not established to be as a result of damage in excess of ordinary wear and tear or for which costs were not actually incurred, was disallowed and constituted a violation of Section 8-203 (f)(1)(i), (f)(2), and (g)(1) of the State Code.  The Tenant’s request for a penalty of up to three times the unreasonably withheld amount of her security deposit was denied.

The Order
The Commission ordered the Landlord to pay the Tenant $1,610.38, which sum represented her security deposit ($1,395.00) plus accrued interest ($20.93), plus a rent credit ($194.45).

The Landlord subsequently filed an appeal of the Commission’s Order to the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, and filed suit against the Tenant in the District Court of Maryland for the same damages he claimed against her security deposit. The Landlord subsequently withdrew his appeal of the Commission’s Order in the Circuit Court, and the District Court subsequently dismissed his suit against the Complainant for damages based on the fact that the Commission had already fully adjudicated the matter.


Baer vs. Clark, et al

Case #  26326
Date Order Issued  January 26, 2006
Subject  Security Deposit

Summary of Complaint
The Complainant, Denise Baer, filed a complaint claiming that her former landlord, William H. Clark, Trustee for the William H. Clark Trust: (1) failed to send her an itemized list of damages together with a statement of costs actually incurred to repair that damage, by first class mail within 45 days after the termination of her tenancy; (2) failed to return one-half of May 2005 rent, in violation of the Lease Addendum; (3) failed to notify her of the date and time for the final walk-through inspection of the property; and (4) charged her for damage to the property that she did not cause or was not her responsibility to repair.

The Respondent contended that: (1) the itemized list of damages was hand-delivered to the Complainant before the 45-day deadline had expired; (2) the Complainant did not move out of the property on May 15, 2005, nor did he agree to refund one-half of May 2005 rent to her if she did so; and (3) he charged the Complainant for damage she caused to the property that was in excess of ordinary wear and tear.

The Complainant requested an Order from the Commission that the Respondent refund her entire security deposit, plus accrued interest, and one-half of May 2005 rent, plus a penalty of three times the withheld amount.

Findings
The Commission found that pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Lease Addendum, the Complainant's tenancy terminated as of May 15, 2005, and she did not owe additional rent to the Respondent beyond that date. The Commission further found that the Respondent breached the Lease Addendum by failing to pay the Complainant one-half of May 2005 rent in the amount of $987.50, within 15 days after she vacated the property. ”  The Commission found that although the Complainant painted a bedroom with black paint during her tenancy without the Respondent's consent, which constituted damage in excess of ordinary wear and tear, and damaged the refrigerator door handle, shelf and kick-plate, mailbox, screen door and hardwood floors, in excess of ordinary wear and tear, the Respondent failed to provide any evidence to demonstrate that he incurred any actual costs to repair those items, and therefore those charges assessed against the Complainant's security deposit were disallowed.

The Commission found that the Complainant did not damage the garbage disposal, window sashes, driveway, exterior fencing and gate, kitchen floor tiles, and carpets, in excess of normal wear and tear, and therefore, those charges assessed against the Complainant's security deposit were disallowed.

The Commission found that the Complainant was responsible to "keep grass and shrubbery trimmed and maintained," during her tenancy but because the Respondent's Agent waived this obligation and agreed to perform the required shrubbery trimming himself, the charges assessed against the Complainant's security deposit for trimming shrubbery and hauling away the debris, were disallowed.

The Commission found that although the Complainant damaged the kitchen window and storm window and screen in the rear bedroom in excess of ordinary wear and tear, and the Respondent incurred actual expense to repair the damage, the Respondent had forfeited his right to withhold these charges from the Complainant's security deposit because he failed to send to the Complainant an itemized list of damages, together with a statement of costs actually incurred to repair that damage, within 45 days after the termination of Complainant's tenancy.

The Commission found that pursuant to the Lease, Complainant was responsible for having the property de-fleaed and de-ticked by a professional exterminator at the termination of occupancy, but she failed to do so. Although the Respondent incurred actual expenses to have the property de-fleaed and de-ticked, he forfeited his right to withhold this amount from the Complainant's security deposit because he failed to send her an itemized list of damages together with a statement of costs actually incurred to repair that damage within 45 days after the termination of Complainant's tenancy.

The Commission further found that Respondent failed to provide sufficient probative evidence that a disputed water bill was for a period of time that the Complainant occupied the Property, and therefore, the amount assessed against the Complainant's security deposit for the unpaid water bill was disallowed.

The Commission found that the Respondent miscalculated the amount of interest that had accrued on the Complainant's security deposit. The correct amount of accrued interest owed the Complainant was $108.63.

The Commission concluded that the Respondent's conduct did not rise to the level of bad faith or egregiousness necessary to award a penalty, and therefore, Complainant's request for such an award was denied.

The Order
The Commission ordered the Respondent to pay the Complainant $2,960.02, which sum represented her security deposit ($1,975.00) plus accrued interest ($108.63), less the amount previously refunded ($111.11), plus the equivalent of one-half of May 2005 rent ($987.50).

The Respondent subsequently satisfied the Order and paid the Complainant $2,960.02.


Payne vs. Forbes

Case #  26025
Date Order Issued  January 4, 2006
Subject  Security Deposit

Summary of Complaint
The Complainants, Randy and Sandra Payne, filed a complaint alleging that their former landlord, Denise Forbes, assessed unjust charges against their $1,375.00 security deposit plus accrued interest, after the termination of their tenancy, to repair damage that was not in excess of ordinary wear and tear, and to repair damage that they did not cause.

The Respondent contended that the Complainants: (1) damaged the property in excess of ordinary wear and tear during their tenancy; (2) left the property in an unclean condition at the time they vacated; and (3) failed to pay the full amount of the rent due for November 2004.

The Complainants requested an Order from the Commission that the Respondent refund their entire security deposit, plus accrued interest, less the amount previously refunded by the Respondent, for a total award of $1,437.10.

Although she received proper notice of the hearing date and time, the Respondent failed to appear at the hearing, which was conducted in her absence.

Findings
The Commission found that at the time the Complainants vacated the property, the Complainants had paid all rent due to the Respondent, including their portion of November 2004 rent. Therefore, the Respondent's withholding of $542.00 from the Complainants' security deposit for unpaid rent was disallowed. ”  The Commission further found the Respondent failed to provide any evidence to demonstrate either that the Complainants damaged the Property in excess of ordinary wear and tear or that she incurred any actual expense to repair that damage. Therefore, the Respondent's withholding of $895.85 from the Complainants' security deposit for repair of damages was disallowed.

The Order
The Commission ordered the Respondent to pay Complainants $1,437.10, which sum represented the Complainants' security deposit ($1,375.00) plus accrued interest ($82.50), less $20.40 previously refunded to the Complainants.

The Respondent filed an appeal of the Commission's Order to the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland. The Circuit Court denied the appeal. The Respondent subsequently satisfied the Order and paid the Complainants $1,437.10.