Archive for Wednesday, September 4, 2013

40 years ago: Report shows differences in security deposit policies

September 4, 2013

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From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for Sept. 4, 1973:

A report released recently showed contrasts between policies and practices of major apartment complexes and housing in the area east of the Kansas University campus. The 20-page report on Lawrence landlords, prepared for the Consumer Protection Division of the Kansas Attorney General's office, showed an occupancy rate of 96 percent in east-of-campus properties, compared with a rate of 87 percent for average properties. On the basis of interviews with 44 landlords and managers, Sandy Comenetz, the writer of the report, had testified in late August before a special legislative committee considering a "truth in renting" bill. Comenetz told the committee that landlords were not willing to pay interest on security deposits because of the bookkeeping involved; they "held fast to their objections" even after hearing a proposed interest system that would minimize their accounting duties. Comenetz also reported that the average Lawrence landlord required a base security deposit of roughly $83, with major landlords asking $107 and "east-of-campus" landlords asking $53. "The average landlord withholds all or part of the security deposit from 17 percent of his tenants, charging these tenants an average of $13 each. The corresponding figures for the average big landlord are 30 percent and $22; for the average east-of-campus landlord, only seven percent and $2," the report said. Well over half the landlords returned security deposits within two weeks of termination of tenancy, with the big landlords having a slower return rate than east-of-campus landlords, 80 percent of whom returned deposits immediately. It also appeared that landlords of major complexes were more likely to use itemized lists upon checkout and had more restrictions on what constituted "normal wear and tear," while east-of-campus landlords "do not use deduction lists, are lenient about 'normal wear and tear,' do minimal repairs (mostly by themselves), and have no fixed clean-up schedule.... Most of their properties are old and many are in poor shape. At the same time, they enjoy a very high occupancy rate. Clearly, their tenants are looking for temporary cheap housing, and many of the landlords make no pretense of offering well-maintained apartments." Regular clean-up work was not done at all by 14 percent of the major landlords and 37 percent of the east-of-campus landlords.

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