Somehow, we did it. We got the landlord to return the deposit. Well, it wasn’t just somehow. We had been compiling evidence. My wife had photos. She was gathering letters of testimony from every person who had come to our house. People were really coming through and offering up descriptions of the mold and the pot smoke and the rat feces and the holes in the window, and with every letter, we felt a little more empowered. J wrote a five-page timeline containing every detail related to our cursed times at that house. We were ready to take this woman to court and get every cent we could from her. We even found free legal advisors who were going to help us compile all of our paperwork. After writing her multiple letters educating her on tenant law, attempting to reason with her to show her just how many laws she had broken, we were determined.
And then my wife, the woman with some serious fire in her belly, offered up one final option: I should email the landlord’s partner and appeal to her. We had met this woman when the landlord sent her over to try to fix a few minor issues in the place. We connected with her as lesbian moms. She liked our family, interacted with BG, expressed a similar love for his music class. Fortunately, Ms. Evil Landlord had copied her partner on one piece of correspondence we had shared, so I had her email address. I wrote to her and laid it out. I told her that her wife was holding our security deposit unlawfully, that she was in over her head, that we had a solid case and evidence, and while we didn’t want to sink their family, we had no other choice than to take her wife to court. I asked her, as a reasonable, level-headed person if she could offer us any help with her bull-headed, slumlord of a wife (perhaps I used more neutral terms). I didn’t receive a reply.
Since we have moved here, BG has a daily ritual of checking the mail, so we went to check it late yesterday afternoon, and sitting on top was an envelop with the most angry–yet familiar– scrawl. We opened it up, and inside was a check from the landlord’s partner for our security deposit–from her personal account.
I find myself wishing I could have been a fly on the wall when her wife got the email, when they had the conversation that must have been a fairly ugly argument. J and I are quite certain that Evil Landlord spent the deposit. She admitted to us when we gave it to her that she’s bad at holding onto them. We are also fairly certain that she didn’t tell her wife what she was up to because her wife knew of our initial amicable agreement to end the lease without penalty. All I know is Landlord’s wife wrote us a check, and landlord scrawled my name and address angrily on an envelope. All I know for sure is that we’re done with this nightmare for good. Thank the gods. We can now move on, live our lives, and even engage in a little much-deserved retail therapy.