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landlord and tenant laws?

 
ritani5522
(@ritani5522)
Active Member

Good day! I moved out of my condo on June 27th and my landlord has STILL not mailed me my security deposit. She also intends to take out money for cleaning even though i left the place spotless. Now, I know all 50 states in the US have laws regarding this but I cant seem to find a VI law on this ANYWHERE!! I would like to take them to small claims court. Is there any way this can be mediated without showing up in court as my landlord and I both live stateside?

HELP!!

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Topic starter Posted : November 22, 2016 8:02 pm
CruzanIron
(@cruzaniron)
Expert

Doesn't your lease give a time frame for the return of the deposit?

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Posted : November 22, 2016 8:41 pm
ritani5522
(@ritani5522)
Active Member

No, it does not, only that it "will be returned" Most states have laws requiring that the deposit be returned within 30 days, but I cant find any such law written anywhere in the VI

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Topic starter Posted : November 22, 2016 8:44 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

Most landlords have lease terms regarding the return of the security deposit. My lease dictates the return the deposit in 30 days as I keep WAPA in my name but tenants pay for usage. WAPA bills come a month behind. If tenants haven't been particularly kind to the rental it can often take that long to clean and restore to the condition prior to occupancy and have it available for rental market.

Tenants often have a different idea of what clean means and there's a lot to clean, quite often. Some have no clue or just don't care.
Ceiling fans/blades, windows, screens, AC filters, insides of closets, cupboards, drawers, interior of refrigerator, stovetop/oven, microwave, sometimes there are holes in the walls to patch, not to mention behind and under refrigerator and stove along with cleaning bathrooms and general vacuuming and moping. My lease uses the term "Maid Clean."
It is spotless when someone moves. That's how I want it returned.
I take pictures before and after.

Have you had any correspondence with your landlord?
Did he/she use an agent?
June 27 is a long time to wait for your deposit return.
Any deductions from your deposit should be accompanied by an itemized list, receipts and copies of canceled checks proving legitimate deductions.

Have all correspondence in writing.
Check your lease to see if it set a time limit for deposit return and what it says about cleaning or any deductions made from your deposit.

If you're not on island, it will be difficult to file a small claims suit.
You can call the VI Territorial Court for information.
Ask about mitigation and if possible to do when both parties are off island.
You may be able to file a lien if all else fails.
Be sure to have all your cancelled checks and receipts for your rent and deposit plus copy of lease, all written correspondence.

Do you know if property has been rented?

Good luck.

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Posted : November 22, 2016 9:17 pm
ritani5522
(@ritani5522)
Active Member

Hello and thank you for your response,

My lease said "broom clean." I cleaned the place weekly during my 1 year stay and right before vacating, although I cant say that I got under the fridge and inside the drawers....

Additionally, she did not have it cleaned when I moved in. It was FILTHY and moldy. I had to spend 3 days cleaning it on my hands and knees, yet I still handed over the full deposit, 1st and last.

I left on June 30th and my lease was not up until July 31st. She had someone move in about a week before my lease was up.

I have made several phone calls and emails at this point.

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Topic starter Posted : November 22, 2016 9:23 pm
Afriend
(@afriend)
Trusted Member

I left on June 30th and my lease was not up until July 31st. She had someone move in about a week before my lease was up.

Can we assume you had a written lease? If so, did you pay rent for July? You left early and unless you were legally evicted or had a written agreement signed by both you and your landlord that you would not be charged July's rent you owe that amount even though you were not physically there. Basic Real Estate law says that any amendment to a written contract (in this case your lease) must be done so in writing. A verbal agreement would not be enforceable. The fact your landlord rented the premises to a third party "about a week before your lease was up" is irrelevant

So, if you did not pay July rent I'm guessing your Landlord has withheld your security deposit in lieu of that payment.

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Posted : November 23, 2016 2:35 am
ritani5522
(@ritani5522)
Active Member

Incorrect. I paid for July. When I signed the lease I paid first month, last month (July) and security.

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Topic starter Posted : November 23, 2016 2:50 am
Afriend
(@afriend)
Trusted Member

Incorrect. I paid for July. When I signed the lease I paid first month, last month (July) and security.

Well, that's a big plus in your favor but I still don't know how you can get a judgement against your landlord without going to court and winning your case. Of course, that will require you coming back on island to testify and the cost to do that may be more than the amount of the judgement.

I'd follow the suggestion of Alana33 and call the VI Territorial Court to see what they recommend. It may be worth the cost of the phone call.

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Posted : November 23, 2016 1:20 pm
SausageInTheCan
(@SausageInTheCan)
Advanced Member

Holes in wall from picture hanging is normal wear and tear. You can't expect a tenant not to hang pictures during the duration of the lease. Broom clean means exactly that. If they wanted it sterilized like an O.R. it should have stated it in the lease.

Depending on VI tenant/landlord laws if the deposit has not been returned within a specified time frame, the landlord may be required to pay DOUBLE damages if the tenant has not been notified in writing the reason why the deposit is being withheld. So if the landlord is supposed to serve notice within sixty days for instance, a judge could impose severe penalties to the landlord for violations.

I had a landlord do exactly that in the states and to their amazement had to pay three times the amount of the deposit for violating that states laws. LOL

So it may be worthwhile for the OP to pursue it in civil court.

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Posted : November 23, 2016 9:05 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

I've never heard of a judgment like that, locally.

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Posted : November 23, 2016 10:58 pm
SausageInTheCan
(@SausageInTheCan)
Advanced Member

Most people don't know their tenant rights so it's possible it is the same in the VI.
I didn't know until I hired an attorney (friend) and he advised me after the specified time lapsed. I still came out way ahead and it was worth it to watch the landlord go down in flames.

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Posted : November 24, 2016 9:37 pm
Afriend
(@afriend)
Trusted Member

Most people don't know their tenant rights so it's possible it is the same in the VI.
I didn't know until I hired an attorney (friend) and he advised me after the specified time lapsed. I still came out way ahead and it was worth it to watch the landlord go down in flames.

Yes, but you were back on the mainland and presumably filed your action in the proper venue where both you and your landlord had the ability to easily attend the proceedings.

In OP's case, the property in question is in the VI and neither OP or the Landlord are on the island. OP would have to file the lawsuit in the VI (unless the terms of the lease allowed otherwise) and show up in court (again in the VI's). For whatever reason OP doesn't want to return to the VI's so getting a judgement is problematic since at least one of the parties must show up in court in order to get a judgement. It is extremely doubtful OP could even file a case in a mainland court, let alone get a judgement.

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Posted : November 25, 2016 3:02 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

It might be worth a call to OP's local small claims court to explore or rule out that avenue, since both tenant and landlord reside in the states.
It may not fly since rental is in the VI.

Here's contact info for our VI District Court.

http://www.vid.uscourts.gov/court-info/court-locations/

Good luck.

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Posted : November 25, 2016 3:23 pm
SausageInTheCan
(@SausageInTheCan)
Advanced Member

Most people don't know their tenant rights so it's possible it is the same in the VI.
I didn't know until I hired an attorney (friend) and he advised me after the specified time lapsed. I still came out way ahead and it was worth it to watch the landlord go down in flames.

Yes, but you were back on the mainland and presumably filed your action in the proper venue where both you and your landlord had the ability to easily attend the proceedings.

In OP's case, the property in question is in the VI and neither OP or the Landlord are on the island. OP would have to file the lawsuit in the VI (unless the terms of the lease allowed otherwise) and show up in court (again in the VI's). For whatever reason OP doesn't want to return to the VI's so getting a judgement is problematic since at least one of the parties must show up in court in order to get a judgement. It is extremely doubtful OP could even file a case in a mainland court, let alone get a judgement.

The net result of doing nothing will net exactly that. Nothing.
The OP would file in the state they live. The fact that the rental is in the VI should not matter. The landlord is being sued not the property. Every landlord in the VI would be untouchable based on your assessment. The prospect of expenses incurred by the landlord for attorney fees, travel and final judgement may persuade the landlord to pay up. Since the landlord will probably have to pay additional damages for non compliance it will be worth it to go the distance with this one. Dishonest landlords should be punished hard and repeatedly until they learn their lesson.

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Posted : November 25, 2016 7:49 pm
SausageInTheCan
(@SausageInTheCan)
Advanced Member

Most people don't know their tenant rights so it's possible it is the same in the VI.
I didn't know until I hired an attorney (friend) and he advised me after the specified time lapsed. I still came out way ahead and it was worth it to watch the landlord go down in flames.

Yes, but you were back on the mainland and presumably filed your action in the proper venue where both you and your landlord had the ability to easily attend the proceedings.

In OP's case, the property in question is in the VI and neither OP or the Landlord are on the island. OP would have to file the lawsuit in the VI (unless the terms of the lease allowed otherwise) and show up in court (again in the VI's). For whatever reason OP doesn't want to return to the VI's so getting a judgement is problematic since at least one of the parties must show up in court in order to get a judgement. It is extremely doubtful OP could even file a case in a mainland court, let alone get a judgement.

The net result of doing nothing will net exactly that. Nothing.
The OP would file in the state they live. The fact that the rental is in the VI should not matter. The landlord is being sued not the property. Every landlord in the VI would be untouchable based on your assessment. The prospect of expenses incurred by the landlord for attorney fees, travel and final judgement may persuade the landlord to pay up. Since the landlord will probably have to pay additional damages for non compliance it will be worth it to go the distance with this one. Dishonest landlords should be punished hard and repeatedly until they learn their lesson.

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Posted : November 25, 2016 7:58 pm
Gator's Mom
(@gators_mom)
Trusted Member

If a judgment is found in a court on the US mainland, how would collection be enforced?

In FL, you may win the moral argument and law suit but it would be very unlikely you'd collect any money from a legal proceeding like this.

OP, unless, it's a material amount of $$, take a deep breath, let the money go and choose a better landlord next time.

Most people don't know their tenant rights so it's possible it is the same in the VI.
I didn't know until I hired an attorney (friend) and he advised me after the specified time lapsed. I still came out way ahead and it was worth it to watch the landlord go down in flames.

Yes, but you were back on the mainland and presumably filed your action in the proper venue where both you and your landlord had the ability to easily attend the proceedings.

In OP's case, the property in question is in the VI and neither OP or the Landlord are on the island. OP would have to file the lawsuit in the VI (unless the terms of the lease allowed otherwise) and show up in court (again in the VI's). For whatever reason OP doesn't want to return to the VI's so getting a judgement is problematic since at least one of the parties must show up in court in order to get a judgement. It is extremely doubtful OP could even file a case in a mainland court, let alone get a judgement.

The net result of doing nothing will net exactly that. Nothing.
The OP would file in the state they live. The fact that the rental is in the VI should not matter. The landlord is being sued not the property. Every landlord in the VI would be untouchable based on your assessment. The prospect of expenses incurred by the landlord for attorney fees, travel and final judgement may persuade the landlord to pay up. Since the landlord will probably have to pay additional damages for non compliance it will be worth it to go the distance with this one. Dishonest landlords should be punished hard and repeatedly until they learn their lesson.

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Posted : November 26, 2016 12:40 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

You can file a property lein, if all else fails, I believe.
Something OP can inquire about.

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Posted : November 26, 2016 12:52 pm
VI_resident
(@vi_resident)
New Member

is there no VI law in regard to the time to get the refund back? We need to know what the law is here in the VI....any VI landord/tenant lawyers out there?

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Posted : August 28, 2021 3:36 pm
Exit Zero
(@exit-zero)
Trusted Member Registered

Any idea about the time frame it would be until a court date is actually scheduled??

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Posted : August 28, 2021 8:44 pm
stjohnjulie
(@stjohnjulie)
Trusted Member

Just read an article in the Source that said eviction cases are intentionally being put on the last of the list.   So I’m guessing landlord tenant issues will be last on the huge backlog of cases too.  So probably a really long time before any of that stuff makes it to court.   

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Posted : August 29, 2021 3:56 am
vicanuck
(@vicanuck)
Expert

As with everything else in the VI, there is no enforcement.

You can file your small claims case, but, if you're not here to make your case when it comes up, it will be tossed.

The landlord knows this and is likely hoping you'll just go away.

It happens all the time.

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Posted : August 30, 2021 8:10 am
CruzanIron
(@cruzaniron)
Expert

@vicanuck 

I won a tennant/landlord case in small claims. They appealed (on baseless grounds) and I filed a response to the appeal. It has now been 12 years that it has been sitting on a judges desk. 

 

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Posted : August 31, 2021 7:16 am
stjohnjulie
(@stjohnjulie)
Trusted Member

My husband won a wrongful termination suit and was awarded 12k or so.  The people never paid and after calling weekly, then monthly, for 10 years they said the statute of limitations was up and there wasn’t anything they could do to help them collect.   So yeah.  The courts here are a lot of fun.  

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Posted : September 1, 2021 2:54 am
speee1dy liked
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

Couldn't you place a lien on their property or vehicles, etc. thru Lt. Governors Office and Mashall's Office?

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Posted : September 3, 2021 8:05 am
stjohnjulie
(@stjohnjulie)
Trusted Member

I’m not sure that anything can be done after the limitations wore out.   (Which happened probably 10 years ago now).  The people at the courts certainly didn’t help him resolve the situation or tell him how to do it on his own.  

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Posted : September 4, 2021 3:36 am
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