Chesterfield woman cries foul over missing apartment security deposit

Chesterfield woman cries foul over missing apartment security deposit

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - A Chesterfield woman is crying foul after she says her apartment complex told her they do not have the $1,258 security deposit she paid four years ago.

"I guess they thought that I would just roll over. I can't afford that," said Regina Chapman.

Chapman has lived at the Townhouses of Chesterfield for four years. She has documentation that shows she paid $1258 for her security deposit when she first moved in, Since then the property has changed ownership multiple times. Now it appears that security deposit may not have been passed along.

A tip from a former office manager prompted Chapman to question the status of her security deposit. She was disturbed by what the rental office told her.

"She called me back, and she was like, 'they said that you don't have a deposit and you've been signing leases saying that you don't have a deposit,'" Chapman said. "I'm just signing a lease saying my rent increased, I didn't think about the deposit. She was like, 'well, you've been signing a lease, so there's nothing we can do.'"

She says office management agrees that all of the paperwork showing that the deposit was paid is in her original file, but there's no record of the $1,258 in the most recent years.

"I have no money, I'm working two jobs. You know you also have rights, and it seems like they think that they can just push you aside, and it's not right," Chapman said.

NBC12's Eric Philips called the rental office and a staffer told me they are currently researching this issue. They said because Chapman has not given notice that she plans to vacate, she would not be due the security deposit right now. They say they'll continue to investigate, and if and when she does move out, if they locate her deposit, they'll return it in accordance with the law.

Chapman is uneasy with that response.

"They just told me that there's nothing that they can do, they didn't tell me that they were investigating or anything like that," Chapman said. "I don't want the money in my hand, I just want it applied back to my account, that's it. You have it in writing that I did pay this, so I think it should be honored."

A consumer attorney tells 12 On Your Side in a situation like this, a tenant has two basic options:

Head to circuit court to seek a declaratory judgment. That's where a judge decides who's in the right based on evidence.

Send a certified letter to the landlord, laying out the circumstances in detail and asking for them to accept or admit that they have the deposit. That way, if it ever goes to court, the tenant has a record that they've pursued this previously.

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