ILNews

Landlord sent itemized letter on time

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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.
 

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  1. Welcome to Hendricks County where local and state statutes (especially Indiana Class C misdemeanors) are given a higher consideration than Federal statues and active duty military call-ups.

  2. If real money was spent on this study, what a shame. And if some air-head professor tries to use this to advance a career, pity the poor student. I am approaching a time that i (and others around me) should be vigilant. I don't think I'm anywhere near there yet, but seeing the subject I was looking forward to something I might use to look for some benchmarks. When finally finding my way to the hidden questionnaire all I could say to myself was...what a joke. Those are open and obvious signs of any impaired lawyer (or non-lawyer, for that matter), And if one needs a checklist to discern those tell-tale signs of impairment at any age, one shouldn't be practicing law. Another reason I don't regret dropping my ABA membership some number of years ago.

  3. The case should have been spiked. Give the kid a break. He can serve and maybe die for Uncle Sam and can't have a drink? Wow. And they won't even let him defend himself. What a gross lack of prosecutorial oversight and judgment. WOW

  4. I work with some older lawyers in the 70s, 80s, and they are sharp as tacks compared to the foggy minded, undisciplined, inexperienced, listless & aimless "youths" being churned out by the diploma mill law schools by the tens of thousands. A client is generally lucky to land a lawyer who has decided to stay in practice a long time. Young people shouldn't kid themselves. Experience is golden especially in something like law. When you start out as a new lawyer you are about as powerful as a babe in the cradle. Whereas the silver halo of age usually crowns someone who can strike like thunder.

  5. YES I WENT THROUGH THIS BEFORE IN A DIFFERENT SITUATION WITH MY YOUNGEST SON PEOPLE NEED TO LEAVE US ALONE WITH DCS IF WE ARE NOT HURTING OR NEGLECT OUR CHILDREN WHY ARE THEY EVEN CALLED OUT AND THE PEOPLE MAKING FALSE REPORTS NEED TO GO TO JAIL AND HAVE A CLASS D FELONY ON THERE RECORD TO SEE HOW IT FEELS. I WENT THREW ALOT WHEN HE WAS TAKEN WHAT ELSE DOES THESE SCHOOL WANT ME TO SERVE 25 YEARS TO LIFE ON LIES THERE TELLING OR EVEN LE SAME THING LIED TO THE COUNTY PROSECUTOR JUST SO I WOULD GET ARRESTED AND GET TIME HE THOUGHT AND IT TURNED OUT I DID WHAT I HAD TO DO NOT PROUD OF WHAT HAPPEN AND SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION FOR MY CHILD I AM DISABLED AND SICK OF GETTING TREATED BADLY HOW WOULD THEY LIKE IT IF I CALLED APS ON THEM FOR A CHANGE THEN THEY CAN COME AND ARREST THEM RIGHT OUT OF THE SCHOOL. NOW WE ARE HOMELESS AND THE CHILDREN ARE STAYING WITH A RELATIVE AND GUARDIAN AND THE SCHOOL WON'T LET THEM GO TO SCHOOL THERE BUT WANT THEM TO GO TO SCHOOL WHERE BULLYING IS ALLOWED REAL SMART THINKING ON A SCHOOL STAFF.

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