ILNews

Landlord sent itemized letter on time

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed judgment in favor of a tenant in a security deposit dispute, ruling that the landlord did deliver an itemized damages letter within statutory deadlines.

Christine DiGiacomo had a one-year written lease agreement with Robert Eppl for a one-bedroom apartment. She asked to stay on a couple of months extra after the lease ended because her new home wasn’t ready for her to move in. She paid rent for February 2009, but arranged to drop off her keys to the apartment in the middle of February because she was ready to move. On April 10, she received an itemized list of damages from Eppl, keeping her $550 security deposit and seeking $87.50 in additional damages for nail holes in the wall, a broken light fixture, and repainting of the apartment.

DiGiacomo sued for the refund of her security deposit and attorney fees, arguing that the letter came after the 45 days required under statute; Eppl countersued for the additional $87.50. The small claims court ruled in favor of DiGiacomo.

At issue in Robert Eppl v. Christine DiGiacomo, No. 45A03-1007-SC-402, is whether the month-to-month lease terminated in the middle of February when DiGiacomo turned in her keys, which would make the itemized damages letter late under statute; or whether the lease terminated at the end of February, in which the letter would be on time.

The judges found that DiGiacomo’s conduct didn’t indicate that she intended the rental agreement to end until the end of February as she paid rent through the end of the month and never requested a pro rata refund of rent paid for the month. She and Eppl also had an oral agreement that she would stay for a couple more months. Also, she can’t show that Eppl took any decisive action on February 13 when she turned in the key that manifested his acceptance of her surrender of the apartment, wrote Judge Carr Darden.

“Without more, DiGiacomo’s mere delivery of the keys is not sufficient to demonstrate that Eppl actually accepted the surrender of the premises, and thereby, released DiGiacomo from liability as of that date,” he wrote.

The appellate court reversed judgment in favor of DiGiacomo and remanded for the court to calculate the undisputed nail hole damages and expenses for repair of the broken light fixture to be deducted from the security deposit. DiGiacomo admitted to breaking the light fixture and making eight to 10 nail holes in the apartment, but said she did not make the 53 holes that Eppl said he counted in the apartment after she left.
 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  2. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  3. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  4. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  5. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

ADVERTISEMENT