Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire

I need to vent a little.

As many of you might remember, last summer when we moved out of our house on Kaua’i, our landlord stood us up for the move-out inspection. And, although he had 14 days from the day we turned over the keys (July 29) to return our security deposit, either by mail or in person, along with written evidence if necessary for why he was keeping some or all of it, we have never received anything from him.

Up until a few days ago we hadn’t communicated with our former landlord since August, when he claimed he had mailed a check to us, but refused to say how much or if there was other paperwork. We had given him our mailing address (Brett’s sister) but whatever he sent turned out to be addressed to a completely different city in Texas. When we informed him and again gave him the correct address, the landlord claimed he would have the mis-addressed mail forwarded to the correct address but of course nothing ever showed up. That was the last we heard from him before heading to Buenos Aires.

Our former landlord is incapable of opening his mouth without lying. And once he starts he can’t stop, and the stories get bigger and better each time he tells them. Over the nearly three years we rented from him, for example, Brett listened to numerous tales of the landlord’s two years of military service. Brett still doesn’t know whether he served in the marines or the navy because his story changed every single time about what branch of the service he was in and what he did. And, his experiences in the military grew every time as well to the point where he apparently did every job short of commanding an aircraft carrier, and he was promoted at least four times over a period of six months because of his amazing skills and leadership ability (the last time was to the highest enlisted rank, E-9, at age 19)! We were always a bit weirded out that he would tell Brett these whoppers because the landlord knew Brett was a career sailor and had been in the service at the same time and knew a few things. Brett tried to call him on his tall tales a few times, but that never slowed him down.

Our landlord lied and exaggerated about everything. Constantly. We knew when we moved in that along with maintaining a good relationship with him we were going to have to keep track of him and keep records to protect ourselves. We stayed friendly, paid our rent on time every month, took good care of the house, and worried when he was diagnosed with cancer. In return he treated us fairly for the most part. But, the lies, crazy stories, excuses, etc. never stopped or let up, so Brett saved every message from him, a good thing because it turns out the man incriminated himself almost every time he wrote something to Brett concerning the house.

When we messaged him the morning of the inspection to ask if and when he intended to come, his first reply was he had forgotten. From there we started getting excuse after excuse after excuse for why he failed to show up until it finally got to the point it was our fault he didn’t come. This was in spite of him telling us at the same time we were his best tenants ever and he had planned to give us back our entire deposit (without ever making any arrangements to do so). Of course, in the next couple of days we were informed that following HIS solo inspection we had actually trashed his property and it was going to cost him a small fortune to fix everything we had damaged. He also made several flat-out crazy claims with no relation to reality. For example, at one point he wanted to know if we had we forgotten about our arrangement to swap our house in Texas with his on Kaua’i – ????? It was exhausting dealing with all the lies and stories over and over.

Last week Brett accidentally dialed the landlord’s number. Much to our surprise, the landlord actually messaged Brett back to say the check he sent last August had been returned to him in October (but of course he never contacted us about it). He asked for our mailing address for the third time and said he was going to resend the check and would send Brett the tracking number. That was a week ago and as expected we’ve heard nothing further from him. We still believe he has no intention whatsoever of giving us any of our deposit, and it would be the shock of a lifetime for us at this point if he follows through on his latest claim. We’re sure he’s convinced himself that we’re never coming back to Kaua’i so who’s going to care if he doesn’t return our deposit? What are we going to do about it?

Well, for one, we care. And, there is plenty we can do. We are fine with one of us (me) going back to Kaua’i to collect our deposit through small claims – it’s a considerable amount and worth making the trip. And, we know our former landlord does not want to appear in court – we saw last summer that the mere mention of a court appearance completely unnerved him, especially since there’s a very good chance he’s a tax cheat. Hawai’i places very strict limits on how long and for what reasons a landlord can retain some or all of a security deposit. They are required to provide loads of documentation to back up any claims they make for keeping any part of the deposit, and can be required to pay as much as three times the original deposit to their former renter if they fail to do so or make false claims.

The next time our landlord hears from us it will be with a summons. We have a full calendar year from our move-out date to file in small claims, and we plan to do so as soon as we return to Portland next May. We are going to sue for a full return of our security deposit along with the cost of my travel to Kaua’i. I will be bringing along the many photos we took of the very clean house, all the receipts and incriminating messaging from him. We also have witnesses ready to show that the house was well-cared for and left in spotless and move-in-ready condition, and that the landlord has never made any genuine effort to return the deposit or any part of it at all.

Tick tock, Mr. Landlord.

12 thoughts on “Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire

    1. We have a LOT of documentation. Our primary witness is both an experienced property manager and an attorney. He went over our house with a flashlight and white gloves before we knew the landlord wasn’t going to show and said it was spotless, and only wished his properties were in such good condition. He also says that the minute the landlord said “I forgot” he forfeited any right to claim damages or retain any of the security deposit – he was required to be there with us.

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  1. Sounds like he’s going to get a rude awakening – richly deserved. And of course, he has a stellar role model for non-stop lying now. Not that he ever needed one. I’m convinced people that lie all the time have major mental health issues. But that doesn’t make it any easier to stomach. Tick tock indeed.

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    1. One of the rudest awakenings he’s going to get is having to deal with me in court versus Brett. I wanted nothing to do with him when we lived in the house because he drove me nuts, so he’s never really spoken with me (I always just hung around in the background taking notes) but I could also tell he does not like dealing with women, and thinks he is smarter than all of us. About a week before we moved out I reminded him of the appointment for the inspection and he got VERY annoyed with me for talking to him, a big show in front of the other men present. But, as Brett says, “I pity the fool!” because he has no idea who he will be dealing with in court. I’m his worst nightmare because I am organized and will come prepared, and it’s nearly impossible to get me rattled, especially in a situation like this. Brett said it’s his poor luck that he’s never seen me buy a car!

      I think he’s nothing more than a common criminal/scammer who has been allowed to get away with things for a long time. He’s also got a giant inferiority complex.

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    1. LOL – the President of Landlords is a perfect description of this guy! He really is just that – they share many similarities.

      I’ll let you know when I’m heading over to the island – I’d love to hook up with you there! YaYu is talking about going back for the summer as well to work (she can earn more there than on the mainland) so we’ve got that to think about as well.

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  2. Much like Trump..a pathological liar is not going to ever make you feel confident in his words or actions. It is clear you are incensed by him. As I am by Trump. Hang in there.

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    1. From the very beginning we never knew what to believe from him. And, every time we would ask him something the story would change. Brett did a good job of nearly always messaging him and getting him to commit to something in writing. Even then the stories frequently changed.

      Incensed doesn’t begin to describe how we angry we still are about this situation. He stole quite a bit of money from us. Even if he is ordered to pay I doubt he will, but there will a judgment against him AND we can have the debt held against his estate/trust so that if any transactions take place there we have to be paid first.

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  3. I don’t like to say this out loud very often for fear that people will judge me for saying it, but sometimes there is a reason things happen to people in life.

    I once worked with a one armed man. Still to this day I am not sure how he lost that arm, but after three months I was “let go” at the end of my probation and the company kept over $5,000 of my commissions, because I had no right to them unless I passed probation successfully.

    It wasn’t until many months later, when the same thing happened to a friend of mine who had even more in owed commissions than I did, that we realised they were doing this to a lot of people. My friend took them to court, and won. I’d moved on by that point.

    It came out this one-armed man had been involved in effectively stealing commissions from people for many years, and this was a planned thing – they knew from the moment they employed certain people that they would be let go at the end of the three months. It was their way of making extra profit.

    Still to this day I wonder, was the loss of the arm his punishment for who he was (or who he was going to be) as a person, or was the loss of his arm the reason he became a thieving employer? Did he somehow feel entitled to it?

    But given everything you have said about your landlord and his tendancy to lie, I wonder if he is lying about his illness as well?

    Anyway, I am sorry this has happened to you. I would pay good money to watch you in court! 😉

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    1. I honestly think he is ill, but I think he may lie about the extent of it (he claims he is in remission but we have our doubts). He was not a healthy man to begin with.

      We think he is just a garden variety cheat that has figured out how to cheat people and the tax systems. The problem is he has told so many lies at this point that he can’t keep them straight, and things are starting to crumble under the weight of the lies. Some of the stuff he told Brett would be downright criminal, and nothing that a normal person would admit to ANYONE, even as an exaggeration or lie.

      I do believe in karma, but it keeps its own schedule. And, you can’t order what you want; you’re only served what you deserve.

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    1. Triple damages would be sweet, but we will be happy just to get the original amount back plus the cost of my going back to Kaua’i. The decision for the award is up to the judge, and I don’t want to show up acting greedy. I just want to man to give us back the money he stole from us.

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