Couple Teaches A Perfect Lesson When The Landlord Refused To Return Their Security Deposit.
I rented a little house from a man who owned a painting business. The power was off when we came to see the property but he assured us everything worked, even put it in the contract. The place was dirty and poorly maintained so we negotiated the security deposit down to $300.
Turned out the heat/air didn’t work, along with the refrigerator and dishwasher. I asked him to have someone look at them. He cursed me up and down. He called and left threatening voicemails. He would show up unannounced and let himself in. On one of the visits, I showed him that the crawlspace was flooded and was a breeding ground for thousands if not millions of cockroaches and mosquitos that would come up through the floor vents. There was absolutely no ductwork even though he claimed the heat/air worked fine. He accused me of causing the flood myself even though I showed him the source was a pipe that had rusted through.
He refused to address any problems and said, “If you don’t like it then you can move. You can’t pay for a bargain and expect to live in the Ritz.” This man was a terrible man in general. Once he hired someone off Craigslist to cut down a tree in the rental property’s yard. The man worked literally all day for the agreed $150, cut up and hauled off the tree. He came back that evening, just standing in the yard. I asked if I could help him. He said he was waiting for the owner to get paid. The owner kept replying saying he was on the way but never showed up. Our neighbor told us he had punched the previous renter in the face and refused to pay him for a day’s work for his company. He had bragged about renting to illegal immigrants and not having to do anything because they wouldn’t sue.
We had a newborn baby so we called his bluff and agreed to find a new place to live. We left the home in much better shape than we found it. He said he would mail us the security deposit but never did. He dodged my phone calls until one day he called to say, “You aren’t getting it back. You broke the contract when you left early, so go f*** yourself.” I was really upset because we were new parents and had very little money. That $300 was a big deal to us and a drop in the bucket for this man. He owned an upscale painting business and had 15 rental properties.
The next week, I was online leaving negative reviews for his business when I clicked a link and noticed his website’s domain had just lapsed. I knew what I had to do. I immediately bought it, then created a homepage with contact info for his biggest competitor. I emailed him from his old domain, asking him if he wanted to buy the website for $320 (the cost of the security deposit plus the price I paid for the domain).
He was irate! He started calling my work, threatening to sue my employer. He even contacted my parents and threatened to sue them. He left a bunch of threatening voicemails for me, saying he was going to beat me up and he knows where I live and he has my social security number.
I received emails from several review sites asking if I was trying to update the contact info for the business. He must have used his old domain’s email as his contact email. I didn’t want to get in trouble for impersonating his business so I did not respond. The contact info was never changed.
I received a few emails from potential clients. I called him and told him about the painting job requests. I gave him the contact info for one of the clients to prove I wasn’t just making it up. I told him it was the last time I was going to do that for him, and suggested he buy the website back I’m order to not miss out on any other jobs. He told me he was taking me to court. I told him I had recorded his threatening phone calls and saved all his texts and voicemails. He said he was going to sue me for illegally recording him (not illegal in my state). I said, “I look forward to seeing you in court where I countersue and press charges for harassing me,” and I hung up.
He called back and cussed me out for hanging up on him. I said, “Call me back when you can speak respectfully to me,” and hung up again. We repeated this about 5 times, each time he was more angry until the last time. He spoke respectfully and explained he hadn’t got a single job in months. I suggested he focus more on creating a website to find business. He lost it and cussed me out again.
6 months passed and he still hadn’t bought the website from me. I get a call from him, begging me to “do the right thing” and give him the website back. I told him the current price was $350. 6 months later, I get another phone call. I told him the current price is $380.
Eventually, he texted me to say, “I went out of business. I hope you’re happy.” I responded, “I hear having a website really helps your business. $380 and it’s yours.” He told me what a terrible person I am and said, “Karma’s a bitch.” I responded, “Maybe if you stop trying to rip people off, your karma wouldn’t be so bad.” That was the last time I ever heard from him. The major business listing sites confirmed his business did indeed close. I renewed the domain for another two years just in case he was bluffing.
A few months later, I drove by his office to see if it was still there. It was empty with a “for rent” sign posted. I never got that $300 back and spent money on domain registrations but it was totally worth it.