Rentals in 20121>Question Details

Heather Sing, Renter in Centreville, VA

I am in a dispute with my former property management company. The dispute is over a broken window which was determined not to be the tenant’s fault.

Asked by Heather Sing, Centreville, VA Thu May 9, 2013

One year later, the company (PPMI) deducted funds out of the security deposit! I took them to small claims court but the case was dismissed because I have to file a case against the property owner who I never met and do not have the contact information to even file a case. But my issue is with PPMI and their unethical practices (more corrupt details exist). I tried going to Better Business Bureau but they do not handle these cases. How is it that the company can do whatever they want and get away with it! Any advice will greatly be appreciated.

0 votes Share Flag Rentals in 20121

Help the community by answering this question:


I am not privy to all the lease information for your former rental, but perhaps you can contact the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors in Arlington for advice. They have attorney's on the staff who might put you in the right direction.
I am confused about your last sentence "which was determined not to be the tenant's fault" so I do not understand why money was withheld?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 3, 2014
An attorney would help because they can find the whereabouts of the landlord and send a nastygram to both the PM and the LL. That usually gets their attention. Also, depending on the terms of the lease it is quite possible that they would have to pay your attorney's fees and court costs. the lease and talk to an attorney. They will typically give you a free consultation.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 20, 2013
You have rights as a tenant, and yes, you can sue the landlord as being individual or a corporation. The name of the owner should be on the lease agreement.
But, I want you to stop for a minute and think about it, how much is the amount? does it worth your time and aggravation? It is very likely not worth hiring an attorney for it, since it will cost you more in attorney's fees.
Also, you mentioned that it was determined that it was not the tenant's fault! who made that detonation? is it the court? or it is the management company? use that evidence to your advantage.
Good lick.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 10, 2013
Perhaps the few hundred bucks may not be worth it but it's ridiculous that the company can get away with this. There were other ethical issues as well.
Flag Fri May 10, 2013
I am interested in filing a case against the property management company, not the landlord. It was determined by the property management company that it was not the tenant's fault and then a year later they still took out funds.
Flag Fri May 10, 2013
It's easy enough to find out who the owner is. PPMI probably can tell you. If not, check the county tax records. Fairfax County's are online. Just plug in the address, and it'll give you the information.

It's most likely a corporation, not an individual. That's OK. You sue the corporation. They'll have a registered agent in Virginia. The State Corporation Commission in Richmond has an online service in which you can look up any registered corporation.

Though I understand your feelings toward the management company, if the court said you have to file against the property owner, then you have to file against the property owner. Tip: If you do that, the property owner won't be happy with the management company. So your issue with the management company will become very apparent to the owner.

Fairfax County also has a tenant's rights office. I don't know its exact name, but just call the county or look it up online. (The Better Business Bureau is worthless in these matters. Understand that the BBB was set up by businesses to protect business interests, not yours.)

Hope that helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 9, 2013
I am looking up the tenant's rights office. Thanks.
Flag Thu May 9, 2013
I know the name of the property owner and while I was at court I had someone look up the deed to the house but there wasn’t an address for the owner so I’m sort of stuck. Obviously from this mess, PPMI is not likely to give me the owner’s contact information. The owner also sold the property as a short sale.
Perhaps the amount that was deducted may not be worth my time but I cannot believe there is absolutely nothing a tenant can do.

Essentially a corrupt company like PPMI can take anyone security deposit even when it’s disputed and get away with it. Again, there were other unethical issues.

Thanks for the advice.
Flag Thu May 9, 2013
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Fairfax, VA
How much is the window worth?
How much is your time worth?
Choose your battles.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 9, 2013
A few hundred bucks and honestly given the amount it may not be worth my time, but as I mentioned there were other unethical and alarming facts I did not mention. I just cannot believe a corrupt company can take your money and there is nothing a tenant can do! Although you are dealing with the property management the entire time you are under the lease, you can't even take them to court because the lease is with the property owner who might be overseas!
Flag Thu May 9, 2013
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