UPDATE: The day after this story aired on FOX4 News, Scearcy received a refund for her security deposit. Problem solved.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Apartment security deposits can sometimes can be more than $1,000, but tenants often have to wage war to get them back.
Including Sarah Scearcy who bought her first home in September. She’s been out of her apartment for more than two months but is still fighting with her old apartment complex over her security deposit.
“They said they were going to refund my full $500,” said Scearcy, a high school teacher who planned to use the money to visit her family in Minnesota over Thanksgiving.
Scearcy knows Missouri law and knows apartment complexes have 30 days to return a deposit. So she waited patiently.
But then 30 days passed, and a refund check never came.
So Scearcy called and was told by management at Township Apartments in Kansas City’s Northland that she should “just watch the mail.” Her deposit was on its way.
But after another couple of weeks passed and still no check, she paid a visit to the complex. A manager blamed the delay on its corporate headquarters in California and said there was nothing they could do.
“They said they would get it to me when they could get it to me,” Scearcy said. “I’m really frustrated.”
That’s why she called the FOX4 Problem Solvers. We paid a visit to the complex near 103rd and North Oak but got the same response Scearcy did: There’s nothing anyone there can do because the corporate office is in California.
So we called the California office, a company called FPA5 Perry LLC, according to the Missouri Secretary of State’s office. We left a message and never heard back.
Attorney Julie Anderson, an expert on landlord tenant law, said Township Apartments is clearly in violation. Landlords have to return a deposit in 30 days or explain why they won’t -- even landlords who are based in California.
“This landlord is transacting business in this state and must abide by the laws in this state,” Anderson said.
So what can Scearcy do?
Under Missouri law, she can sue the complex for twice the value of her refund -- $1,000. Anderson said there’s a very good chance the judge will side with Scearcy and not the complex “because they are just simply disregarding the law."
It's good advice for Scearcy and a fair warning for anyone looking for a place to rent: If you choose Township Apartments, you could have trouble getting your deposit back.