This Redditor was tired of crappy parking spots. So, when he asked his landlord, and she told him he could park anywhere, he followed what other tenants did. But now she’s charging him $800!
A Decade Back
Ten years before this story was posted, OP (Original Poster) and his then-girlfriend, who was now his wife, moved from the area they went to college to an apartment near their workplace.
The rent in the area was relatively high, so they jumped the gun when they found an apartment that was “cheap for the area” and still close to their work. However, he wrote, “I say it was an apartment, but it was really the basement of a house that the landlord had walled off to create two ‘apartments’ to rent. The place was kinda crappy.”
Bad Parking Spaces
OP said that everything was fine for the first few months they were there. However, the only parking space for them was on the street out front.
You Pay More, You Get More
He said the couple renting the other “apartment” had rights to the garage and the driveway since they paid more than OP and his girlfriend.
However, the issue was that OP had gotten a handful of “bulls***” tickets for parking on the street. He said, “I’m guessing some a**-clown cop needed to meet their quota.”
Then, his girlfriend’s car also got sideswiped in a hit-and-run. OP said, “This crap had to stop!”
Emailing the Landlord
So, they resorted to emailing the landlord, which he mentioned was her “preferred form of communication.” They asked her if there was anywhere safe for them to park.
Their landlord said, “Park anywhere you want.”
When they heard this, they said that their other neighbors usually “eschewed the driveway to park in the front yard,” and they figured they’d follow suit.
OP and his girlfriend thought it would also be a “good spot” for them. So, they parked in the front yard for the rest of the year.
That Was That, or Was It?
OP thought that would be the end of it. He wrote, “We finished our lease, left the place in better shape than we found it, and requested our $1,500 security deposit back.”
However, they were surprised when, a few weeks later, they received a check for only $700! OP exclaimed, “What the f***?”
Resodding the Lawn
He contacted their landlord to get her to explain, and she said the deducted amount was to “resod the lawn” because it had been damaged with OP and his girlfriend parking on it.
However, for OP, it was not fair at all. He said, “I was the one who cut the grass at this house while we stayed there, so I was well aware that the lawn had more weeds and bald spots than grass—picture the African Savanna in mid-summer. No one had ever lifted a finger to landscape any part of the property, but the landlord wanted to sell the house once the leases were up, and she figured she could get the renters to pay for a nice, new lawn.”
OP tried to fix things internally, but the landlord always ignored him.
He wrote, “I complained to the landlord: didn’t care. I put in a complaint with the local housing department: didn’t care. I threatened to take her to court: didn’t care. So, that’s what I did—took her to small claims court.”
Going In Prepared
He had never sued anyone before, so he made sure to be prepared and covered all his bases.
OP shared, “I took pictures of the entire front yard—the area that we ‘damaged’ was actually one of the best patches of grass, though it did have a small rut that my tires made when the yard was muddy in the summer. I got testimonials from our upstairs and across-the-street neighbors. Most importantly, I printed out the email where the landlord told us to park anywhere.”
You Need to Pay Us!
OP and his girlfriend were suing for $1,800 to cover court costs and them missing a day of work on top of the full security deposit. During mediation, they said they’d settle for $1,400, but OP said she “must have thought she was in the right” because she refused to offer “a penny more than the original $700 check,” which OP never cashed.
He said, “When we got in front of the judge, it was pretty clear that she had no evidence, hadn’t prepared anything, and just assumed that us ‘kids’ would fall on our faces. We did not.”
OP and his girlfriend laid all their evidence to make their claim, which impressed the judge. The judge then stopped them when he was shown the email with the landlord stating they could park anywhere.
He wrote, “He asked the landlord, ‘Did you really tell them to park wherever they wanted?’ When she said ‘yes,’ the judge replied, ‘Then what are we even talking about?’ And that was that. Judgment in full for us, and that b**** had to pay to resod her own d*** lawn.”
Learning Your Lesson
OP ended his post by leaving readers a piece of the lesson he learned throughout the whole fiasco he experienced.
“Next time you tell someone to ‘park wherever you want,’ you’d better mean it. Or at least don’t try to f*** someone over when they comply with what you said,” said OP.
The Community’s Reactions
There were some Redditors who couldn’t fathom having trouble over deposits.
This Redditor said, “How can there be any controversy regarding deposits? I literally never had any complaint with tenants when returning a full deposit or keeping part of it or all of it after damages to the property; it’s literally all in the contract.”
However, one Redditor argued, saying, “A surprisingly high proportion of landlords are cheating, lying, swindling, opportunistic scumbags.”
Some Redditors also offered advice on how to avoid conflicts with their landlords once their leases were up.
This person wrote, “Email the move-in photos showing damage to the landlord or rental agent to create a paper trail. This by itself could help prevent false deductions in the first place since it shows you know how to ‘play the game’ and are going to stand up for yourself.”
“Yep, doesn’t even need to come off as aggressive. Email photos in the first week or two of living there, with the text, ‘Just wanted you to be aware I found these issues in the apartment.’ And even then, just emailing them to yourself within those first couple weeks will be enough. Worst comes to worst—since that’s what’s going to matter in the end. You can’t rely on the landlord to keep the photos, and having your own timestamped email will be enough if you get to court,” said one man.
What do you think of OP’s revenge? Did you learn something new?
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This post first appeared as He Refused to Get Bullied Into Paying $800 After His Landlord Told Him He Could “Park Anywhere.” So, He Gathered Evidence, Sued Her, and Got Her to Pay $1,800! on Quote Ambition.