Upon signing the lease in September of 2009, we provided Maxwell Properties with a check for $1100 in good faith as security for our rental agreement. In that time, they provided no logistical support; we took care of ALL the property maintenance, including lawn care, landscaping, an snow/ice removal. They were very slow to respond to requests for upkeep (the porch was wearing its protective coat when we took ownership of the property, and deteriorated exponentially in the four years we were there with no attention given to it, for example), and never cared to address anything on our schedule, but rather their M-F 9-5 hours. We even took a Saturday off to show the house for them so "someone wouldn't have to come in on their day off".
This, however, was not the basis of our complaint. After refusing to meet us to do a walk-through unless myself or my fiance took a day off from work to meet them on their schedule, we waited 35 days before contacting them to inquire about our security deposit. We had cleaned the house and left it in much better condition than the way it was handed over to us, and we knew there was a problem with two of the screens in the back room due to the incredible ice build up on the disrepair roof, which we were willing to cover the cost to replace. After waiting nearly SIX weeks and making several attempts at contact, they returned to us $500 of our $1100, a deficit of $600. The basis of my complaint against Maxwell Properties can be itemized as follows:
1) Maxwell Properties charged us $240 to "clean" the house upon our exit. This service WAS NOT PROVIDED to us at the front end of this agreement; we received a house that had stained carpets, filthy and dingy walls in need of painting and spackle, grease stains in the kitchen cooking area, urine stains in both bathrooms, and a wildly unkempt lawn and overgrown shrubbery that needed IMMEDIATE attention. We addressed this by purchasing several hundred dollars worth of lawn equipment.
2) We were charged $360 for "various" maintenance and repair fees, which included the screen replacement and some lightbulbs at a labor fee of 3.5 hours @ $85 an hour. We never received an itemized list of the majority of this cost, just the "walk-through" that was done without our observation. Of the list of 25 things listed, 19 of them were PREEXISTING CONDITIONS, such as a non-functioning over hood, melted outdoor light lens, and debris left behind by the previous owner, such as paint cans, cleaning supplies, and junk left in the attic, all of which we were charged for. Since we were not present, we had no recourse. Additionally, the maintenance person who performed the inspection for Maxwell Properties at the end was not there at the beginning of the lease, and the proprietor had to perform this service as the maintenance person was on vacation at the time.
3) As stated above, we were model tenants who paid our rent in full and on time every month. In return, our rent was raised 3 times in 4 years, and our requests for updates such as the painting that was never done, the rugs that were never cleaned, the outside foundation that was crumbling onto the sidewalk to be looked at, and our front porch re-weathered and repainted were COMPLETELY IGNORED. In four years, the only repair that was made was to the roof, and that was when it started leaking water upstairs. That took three years to address.
4) We expected this level of unprofessionalism as we were forewarned that this would be the case. When viewing the house to assess the cost of updating the property after we moved out, the maintenance person said the house was in "great condition". When asked about the return of our security deposit, he was dismissive, stating that the management company never refunded customers' security deposits and "no one ever got their deposit back".
In my twenty years of renting on and off again, this is the first time that I have not received a deposit back, either in part or in full. Additionally, I have never been treated so poorly or unprofessionally by a management company in all of that time. The office manager was always nice and polite when she would finally call us back, but the proprietor was dismissive and clearly did not represent us or ANY of our interests. We were treated as "rent checks", and nothing more. As a renter, I would NEVER recommend doing business with them. I was highly disappointed in their lack of professionalism and clear absence of transparency.
As an independent contractor, I would never conduct business this way, and I do not expect it from my vendors as well.
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