Landlord’s Arrogance Met Its Match: How We Fought Back and Won Our Deposit

Our Entitled Landlord Refused to Return Our Deposit, So We Taught Him a LessonAfter years of saving, Peter and Mary were finally ready to move into their ideal apartment, but their conceited landlord had other ideas. They realized they had to fight back when he withheld their security deposit and made false claims. Their landlord was shocked to learn of the sly and vindictive scheme that came to pass.Greetings, I am Peter. I guess you could say that I’m a rather sensible guy. At 34, I’ve worked as an analyst for a tech business for, well, longer than I’d like to confess. Figures? Reason?

My bread and butter is that.Unfortunately, our landlord, Mr. Hollingsworth, has been the reason why my head seems like it’s operating on a corrupted software lately.He’s a true piece of work, and let’s just say that his actions regarding our security deposit have left me furious and in need of an outlet. And so here I am, letting my frustrations run wild on the internet, along with a few plans.Let me now go back a little before I unleash the whole Hollingsworth horror show.You see, there’s more to this tale than a rapacious landlord. It’s about giving my small family a new beginning. With my incredible spouse, Mary, and our vivacious three-year-old, Ethan, we can transform “bath time” into an intense monsoon experience. Mary and I were able to accumulate enough money for our ideal apartment after years of budgeting and many nights of eating ramen noodles. After what seemed like an eternity of living in a tiny apartment, our realtor showed us this beautiful apartment a few months ago that was within our budget.When we made the decision to move into the apartment, we paid it our first visit. Ethan couldn’t contain his excitement when Mary told him about the new house and mentioned that his room will include a jungle gym. “Jungle gym!” Ethan would shout while he ran about our small living room with joy. “Can we see it yet, Mommy?”Mary would tell him, “You’ll have to wait for a few more weeks, honey.” She turned our new apartment into a warm refuge by spending weeks organizing and decorating.We were all ready to move into the new location soon. The only thing left to do was retrieve a few items from our previous flat.We had no idea that our move would be the beginning of an unanticipated nightmare with our landlord. When the landlord arrived on the day of the move-out, we took him through the entire flat to give it over. Looking around, he murmured something about a slightly discolored carpet and a scratched doorframe (because of Ethan’s pudding-eating “artistic phase”).But after a twenty-minute inspection, much to our relief, he sighed and said, “Okay, okay, everything appears in order. You will receive your deposit back in the customary amount of time.” After exchanging greetings and shaking hands, we parted ways. As Mr. Hollingsworth closed the door behind him, a wave of relief overcame us. We assumed that was the last time we would hear from him, but that wasn’t the case. However, a few days later, we received an irate voicemail from him.“Peter!” he yelled, hardly making an effort to be polite.What type of mess have you left behind in that flat, do you know? An odor so repulsive that it might drive a buzzard off a pile of manure! The living room and bedroom are too small for me to stand in.” “Let’s not even talk about the infestation! He screamed, “Cockroaches are crawling everywhere like they own the place!” It appears that your young child wasn’t exactly as well-behaved as you had told me. He left food all over the place.” The charge pricked me. Is Ethan disorganized? Yes, occasionally. Cockroaches, though? That was completely ridiculous. With a tone full of fake compassion, he went on, “The security deposit is obviously forfeit.” However, that is merely the very beginning. In order to fix this, a thorough redesign is necessary. Whole floors torn out, new wallpaper, the whole nine yards. And who gets to pay for this small-scale biohazard cleanup? Peter, you really do. You and your… poisonous… family.”Mary and I were shocked when the message ended. Considering that we had the apartment thoroughly cleaned before returning it, what Mr. Hollingsworth described seemed implausible. “Cockroaches? We didn’t even see an ant there, Peter!” Mary cried out, her voice tense with rage. “Yes, Mary,” I replied. “This seems suspicious.” “We must give him another call. We have to correct him.” “Not at all. I informed her, “We won’t give him a call back. “I have a better plan.” We still kept the nanny cam and a few other items from our prior apartment at that moment. I made the decision to watch the tape.There was no other means to learn about Mr. Hollingsworth’s activities. What I discovered was startling. My pulse raced as I watched the nanny cam video again. Initially, it displayed the vacant apartment and the comfortable surroundings that we had meticulously cared for. Then Mr. Hollingsworth suddenly materialized on the screen. He moved warily, looking over his shoulder as though he was worried about being discovered. I was confused at first. For what reason was he present? How was he going about it? However, as the video went on, my bewilderment gave way to terror. Mr. Hollingsworth was wearing a mask and gloves as he crept about the flat.He moved almost surreptitiously, like a thief. He knelt behind the couch, and when he got up, he left something behind, which shocked me. He did this again in the air vents, under the sink, and behind the closets. In an attempt to see what he was placing, I leaned closer to the screen. The knowledge hit me like a ton of bricks when he moved into better light. The food was rotten. I recognized the slimy, decaying chunks of fish intestines, and my stomach turned.It must have been an intolerable stench because Mr. Hollingsworth was constantly fiddling with his mask and covering his nose. As I kept watching, disgust mixed with rage. Here was our landlord, purposefully breaking into the apartment to give the impression that we had left it in a very bad way. It was terrifying how methodically he executed his strategy. He was perfectly aware of the best location for the decaying food, which would not be apparent at first but would soon release an awful odor. I experienced a mixture of rage and resolve when the video eventually came to an end. Mary, who had been observing alongside me, turned to face me, her face blanched with horror.Her voice quivering with anger, she added, “I can’t believe this.” “He set us up.” I answered, “I know,” as a steely, icy resolve descended upon me. “But we’re not going to let him get away with this.” With her eyes flaming, Mary nodded. “What do we do now?” I could see from the video that he was determined to con us. I made the decision to outwit him and came up with a plan. I started by making duplicates of the nanny cam video and backing it up several times. Then, with perfect composure, I gave the landlord a call. Mr. Hollingsworth, let’s talk about the security deposit issue. Could we get together in a few days?” “Ah, finally coming to your senses, are you?” He was snarky. “All right. Come together on Thursday.”I called my friend Mark, a lawyer, in the interim and showed him the video. He watched, his eyes getting wider. “Peter, this is gold. You possess him. Everything will be ready by us.” When Thursday finally arrived, Mary, Mark, and I arrived at the former flat. Mr. Hollingsworth gave us a self-satisfied smile. “Ready to pay for the damages?” I feigned a laugh. “We thought it would be best to show you something first.” I took out my phone at that moment and started watching the nanny cam video.Mr. Hollingsworth’s expression changed from assured to terrified. “I… I can explain…” With a calm yet authoritative voice, Mark intervened. “It is impossible to explain. This is unequivocal proof of deception and deliberate harm. You will reimburse my consumers for the inconvenience in addition to returning the money.” Mr. Hollingsworth stumbled and said, “Let’s avoid getting too legal. I’ll promptly return the deposit.” Mary continued, “And an extra $1,000 for the stress and inconvenience,” in a steady but angrily spoken voice. Otherwise, we’ll see you in court.” Looking completely beaten, he nodded. Within a week, we had our deposit back plus an additional $1,000.Mary and I were feeling victorious as we sat in the yard of our new apartment. Mary shook her head, “I still can’t believe he tried to pull that.” “Yes,” I answered, “but we didn’t back down.” And we prevailed.” With laughter resonating across the room, Ethan dashed over. “Daddy, Mommy, come play!” “In a minute, buddy,” I grinned. “First, Mommy and I need to toast to something.” We lifted our wine glasses and gave them a little tap. Saying, “To justice well served,” Mary spoke. “And to never letting anyone take advantage of us again,” I continued. I was so grateful that I gazed at Mary as Ethan played joyfully nearby. “We make a good team, don’t we?”She said, “The best,” and leaned in to plant a kiss. “Here’s to our new beginning.” I made a joke, “And to making sure we always have a nanny cam,” which made Mary giggle. Though Mr. Hollingsworth may have believed he could con us, he misjudged the strength of a cohesive family. More than anything else, that added to the satisfaction of this victory.If you had been in my position, how would you have responded?

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