7 On Your Side

The apartment deposit

Friday, October 05, 2012

They are a family on the brink, huddled gathered in their church because they have nowhere else to go.

Poorsha and Tyrone Sizer say they're only in this situation because a day before they were supposed to move their family into the third floor apartment of a townhouse, the place was uninhabitable.

"There were paint chips pulling and you know I can't put my family in danger I have 2 grandkids as well," Poorsha Lambert-Sizer said. "It was not livable. It had old food in the cabinets in the kitchen, filthy underwear in the sink!"

They had paid $600 in cash for the security deposit and already signed the lease, but after complaining she says the realtor turned around and rented the apartment to another family and balked on returning their down payment.

So now they have no money and no place to live. Poorsha is between jobs and her husband has been unemployed for 6 months, so they had no other savings to put down on another place.

"It's very rough trying to live day by day and not knowing where you are going to eat. You know this guy made things very difficult for us," Tyrone Sizer said.

So we went to the apartment for answers and ran into the building's landlord, who showed us a sample unit, insisting all of his apartments are in move-in condition.

PINEDA: So no chipped paint?
LANDLORD: No
PINEDA: No garbage?
LANDLORD: No.
PINEDA: and you don't know anything about how this family lost their money for half a month?
LANDLORD: No. He didn't even tell me anything about collecting any money

But right then and there, the landlord called the realtor for an explanation. The realtor told us he had been waiting to give back the deposit until he got a letter from Poorsha releasing the landlord from the signed lease.

After we got involved, Poorsha got her full deposit back.

The realtor said he only rented to another family because this family couldn't show any income on their application. Poorsha is waiting for a second interview and hopes to land a job to move her family to a new place they found by next week. She'll use the deposit she got back but still has to come up with another thousand dollars between now and then.

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