Landlord's security deposit scam beaten by savvy tenant who filmed their spotless apartment before leaving

Originally published at: Landlord's security deposit scam beaten by savvy tenant who filmed their spotless apartment before leaving | Boing Boing


There’s a good chance that someone that meticulous in cleaning and documenting the premises when they left also took care of the place during their tenancy and was respectful toward their neighbours.

A smart landlord knows that having a tenant like that is as important as having one who pays the rent on time. But man, there are a lot of stupid and greedy landlords out there.


Scrupulous rental management companies will take around 300 to 500 pictures of a dwelling before the tenants move in, and the same after they move out. Anyone renting should do the same.


you are supposed to reward tenants like that.


Are you kidding? They’re moving out, and this is the last chance to steal from them before they take their wallets and leave. It’s like you don’t know anything about being a piece-of-crap pond-scum landlord. :expressionless:


I lived somewhere that demanded proof-of-life of every lightbulb in the property when we moved out. The landlord was nice, the letting agents were rabid vultures.


Yeah. Rewarding good tenants so that they stay is worthwhile. Giving them a month free to re-up their lease for another year is smart. Better than hoping to find new tenants within a month. But when they’re leaving? Any damage deposit that you keep and don’t pay for repairs is pure profit. Assholes are going to asshole, and scamming former tenants isn’t stupid per se, unless you end up going to court.


My old building was sold to a big property company, they played a lot games with the tenants, started doing major renovations to pressure folks to leave (got fined by the city for lead paint issues), finally offered to buy out anyone left so they could gut the entire place.

In my case I just moved out when they raised the rent. I tried to get my security deposit back (condition of the apartment shouldn’t matter as they’re gutting it) and they delayed and made excuses, said technically I owed them money because my last months rent didn’t cover the new rent increase. I had a lawyer friend just send them a single email with a copy of my original lease and the bank account number where the deposit was made (which they now controlled) and I got my money back plus interest.

As soon as a lawyer is involved they pay attention.


That’s debatable I guess, depending upon one’s morals and the risk of viable lawsuit; it is, however, quite shitty and unethical a/f.


Yeah, back when I was renting, my last landlord issued me a section 21 eviction notice (because he wanted to do up my flat and rent it out for more money).

As soon as he issued the notice, I started leaving my PC on while I was at work, with my webcam set to trigger when it detected motion and upload the footage to my Google Drive, as I just knew the fucker would ignore any rules about giving 48 hours notice before entering the property, and sure enough, I caught one of his workmen entering my flat without permission.

I kept that footage just in case things got nasty, but thankfully, never had to use it.

Landlords are assholes, every last one of them.


It’s immoral and illegal. That’s why most scumbag* landlords will fold if you seriously challenge them. Photography doesn’t cost anything anymore, so before and after photos are simply a good idea.

*While not all landlords are scumbags, the landlords that try this are scumbags


I am aware.

I don’t move much but when I do I take copious amounts of photos, before and after.




I appreciate this next episode of landlords-suck-especially-in-socal, but what’s up with tick tock? The platform only allows pics/vids at 45 degree angles with some kinda rap music blaring atcha? /vent

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The problem is, the friends of good tenants like that are more likely to be similarly good tenants (than the average hoi polloi, at least). An amicable end to the landlord/tenant relationship can result in a positive recommendation to them, as opposed to a negative one a bad end to the relationship gets you.

Plus, it’s the age of the Internet - this sort of behavior gets known. And for about $450?


The reason this worked though is the social media shaming, not the act of recording the video. I’ve always taken plenty of photos before and after every move as proof of condition, but the landlord still charges $500 for cleaning every time. I send them my photos, and you know what happens? Nothing.

The photos are useless unless you actually take the landlord to small claims court for it. Yes, you’ll win, if you can afford to take a day off work and do all the paperwork and such to make all that happen. I’ve never been in a position to do that, so they win anyway. Landlords know they hold all the cards in the move-out moment.

They don’t even clean with that money anyway. Every apartment I’ve moved into has needed cleaning when I moved in. Cleaning fees are a scam that should be illegal.


This exactly. The reason why landlords get away with it is that most people who rent don’t have the werewithal to fight back and pursue them, so it’s low risk.

Then you also have considerations like just how much the landlords affect the tenant’s rights in acceptable contract law at the state level. The standard Texas Apartment Association contract has no forewarning requirement for entry and penalties for refusing entry for any reason.


That’s just horrible.


Looks like the site has died under the weight of boing boing…

Precisely why LLs should be forced to put the deposit in escrow, and they need to make a good case to the indie escrow company/state why any deductions are valid.

Triple the deposit fines if the LL doesn’t put it in escrow quickly and gives evidence to the tenant made LLs fall in line very quickly on this side of the pond.