Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Screened Windows

The new house has exclusively new windows, all with screens. The office has 12 windows. On a nice day that's a real treat to be able to open the windows and enjoy the breeze without letting all the mosquitoes and other bugs in.

The house that we rented from Terry and Patti Shulman (821 W. 30th St., Richmond, VA 23225) had OLD windows with no screens. Many of the windows were painted shut. But if you opened the other ones mosquitoes would be on their way. Yuck. That's the old house on the left.

Monday, August 30, 2010


Here's Terry and Patti Shulman's latest email:

Please direct all further correspondence to my attorney, Lucy Ivanoff, at:

Lucy Ivanoff Esq.
9 South Augusta Street
Staunton VA. 24401

Terry and Patti Shulman simply did not return a security deposit that was due to their previous tenants. Perhaps this is their M.O.? In any case, we'll get it back. We have the pictures and evidence. They are welcome to bring an attorney. It won't change the facts of the case!

Friday, August 27, 2010

On to Court?

Here's the email I sent today:

Dear Terry and Patti Shulman,

I have received the check you sent for the $5 you have returned of our security deposit. I plan to take the issue to court unless you return the remaining $1245.

According to the receipt you sent, you

1) charged us for torn wallpaper. This wall paper is extremely old and peeling at every seam. We are certainly not responsible for this. The move-out pictures show this.
2) charged us for cleaning. The house was spotless. The pictures show this. No mention was made about any needed cleaning at the move-out inspection, or in the move-out video.
3) charged us for yard work. The grass was cut as required in the lease. The lease leaves other yard work to the landlords.

The pictures and move-out video can be found on my blog (just google "Terry and Patti Shulman").

The court will be interested in the above points, together with

1) the fact that there was no move-in inspection, as required by Virginia law,
2) the fact that the receipt was written by Niche Properties to Terry Shulman, that is, from Terry Shulman to himself - but apparently trying to disguise this fact.

If you do not send a check for $1245 immediately you should both prepare to address these points in court.


Craig Larson

Thursday, August 26, 2010

$5 back. $1245 to go!

The check was in the mail. We got $5 back of our $1250 security deposit from Terry and Patti Shulman. They still owe us $1245.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Demand Letter has Arrived

We sent a demand letter last Thursday demanding that Terry and Patti Shulman return our security deposit. It was sent via registered mail and we just got the return receipt (also linked). A demand letter "gives the recipient a chance to perform the obligation without being taken to court". Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

From Terry Shulman to Terry Shulman

I just realized that he letter that Terry Shulman sent was supposed to look like it came from Niche Properties to Terry. But Niche Properties is Terry Shulman (or Terry and Patti Shulman). The letter is from Terry Shulman to himself - but is supposed to look otherwise. Hmmm, what is Terry trying to do, or disguise?

Friday, August 20, 2010

What is Niche Properties?

Did you notice that the letter that Terry and Patti Shulman sent had "Niche Properties" as the return address? A quick search reveals that this is a business that is based at the Shulman's home address, 1226 Middle River, Staunton, VA. On LinkedIn Terry lists himself as the President of Niche Properties. Niche Properties also seems to be the holding company for The Storefront. I hope guests there don't have to leave a deposit; good luck getting it back!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Moment of Truth

Terry and Patti Shulman made it official today. Here's their letter. They plan to take $1245 of our $1250 security deposit. So they apparently plan to give us $5 of our $1250 back (although we haven't actually received that $5 yet).

Here's what Terry wrote:

1) Repair animal damage to upstairs wall corner bead in bedroom. Four hours labor at $65 per hour = $260 + $25 materials = $285
2) Additional cleaning done to remove food stains on dining room floor and upstairs back bedroom; removal of tenant-added shelf, re-plaster holes and repaint. Four hours labor at $65 = $260
3) Remove overgrown weeds, trees, and vines covering fences, established trees, borders, and sides of house in front and back, remove debris pile. Fourteen hours labor at $50 per hour = $700

One interesting thing is that when Terry Shulman does wallpaper he charges $65 per hour, but he only charges $50 an hour for yard work. Wow, that's a good deal. (Nice work if you can get it).

Item (1) is the wallpaper. This was extremely old and peeling at every seam, as discussed below and can be seen in these pictures.

Who knows what item (2) is? The house was spotless as can be seen in the move-out pictures. Terry did not mention any of these things in the move-out video.

Item (3) is also nonsense. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the lease only says that lawn care was the tenant's responsibility. Other yard care was the landlord's.

What Terry Shulman and Patti Shulman are doing here is wrong. They should return our money.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Worst of Richmond

We moved to Virginia in 2008. It's a different place from Houston and Huntington Beach. We've had some great - and terrible - experiences. Earlier I posted a Best of Richmond list. Here's a list of the worst so far (in no particular order).
  • 821 W. 30th St. This is the house we rented. I posted about it earlier.
  • Richmond Department of Public Utilities - my Houston water bills were around $15, here they start at $64 - before you've even turned on the faucet!
  • Richmond City Public Schools - there are a couple of good ones - but most are really horrible - and the RPS seems to actively prevent any attempts to offer Richmond kids better options.
  • Terry Shulman. He's one of the landlords who hasn't returned our deposit after more than a month. According to his wife Patti he's "in charge of the rental business". They have other businesses.
  • Patti Shulman. She's the other landlord who hasn't returned our deposit after more than a month. Despite being named on the lease she seems to want to wash her hands of it, leave it to Terry, and keep our money.
  • Richmond drivers who pull into the middle of an intersection when there is not enough room on the other side to cross completely through the intersection. This is illegal - and dumb. There is so little traffic here that other Richmond drivers don't seem to mind. No one honks at these intersection blockers. I do. Hopefully they become chagrined enough to not do it again.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Still Waiting for our Deposit

We moved out of 821 W. 30th St. over a month ago. New tenants moved in two weeks ago. And Terry and Patti Shulman have still not sent our deposit back. Is that legal? I don't know. But it's certainly not right.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Neighbor's Tree

I just got this picture from last week's storm. It's the tree from across the street at our rental house at 821 W. 30th St. I often wondered what the chances were if the even bigger tree in front of 821 fell. Wow. It could take out the whole house!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Move-out Inspection Photos

Here's the pictures from the move-out inspection of the house we rented from Terry and Patti Shulman. You can see that it is very clean. Jeanine put in most of a day's work cleaning the place. The claim from Terry Shulman's email, mentioned in yesterday's post, is nonsense. The house was as clean or cleaner than when we moved in.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Move-out Inspection Email

The move-out inspection was July 6. On July 7, Terry Shulman sent me an email with his claims of what we supposedly did and would be paid for out of our deposit. Here are the claims:

"1) Extensive animal damage to the outside corner wallpaper and plaster in upstairs master bedroom.

2) Extensive removal of grass and weeds above lease-specified height.

3) Additional cleaning of dirty floors, bathrooms, and kitchen counters"

1. This claim is nonsense. The videos and pictures in the previous posts detail the overall condition of this very old wallpaper.

2. This claim is also nonsense. The grass was recently cut. The height of the grass can be seen in the video; the lease specifies that "landlord shall be responsible for all other yard maintenance" (see Section 14).

3. The house was left at least the condition as when we moved in. Jeanine spent all of Monday, July 5 cleaning. The cleanliness can be seen in the video. In fact the house may have been in better condition. There were extensive cobwebs when we moved in, and any place that was "out of site", for instance, under the wardrobe, was generally filled with dirt and dust bunnies.

We still haven't gotten our deposit back. Based on this email, it doesn't look good that we will.