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USA Real Estate Blog

How one law-startup empowered my struggle against my landlord and completely changed my view on law.

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Robbed of $500.

Thats how this story starts.

Maybe less of a rob, and more of a stole. But, my landlord owed me a rent deposit of $3500: $3000 for our security deposit and $500 for an adorable mutt named Yukon. 5 weeks after I had moved out of the apartment and submitted the refund form to the apartment management company, I received a disappointing $3000 check. The moment I read the number I knew the exact situation; someone filing my refund ‘left out’ the deposit for our dog. Classic New York Nickel and Dime hustle.

Following this I sent email after email to the management company providing our receipt for the dog deposit, that it was specified as a deposit and not a fee, and that the total deposit returned to us did not include this. A couple months filled with scattered emails were of no avail, and eventually the management company just stopped responding to my emails.

Weeks go by and I almost begin to forget about it.

It’s just $500 from the larger deposit fund. Only robbed(stole) 14% of the whole deposit. Could be worse?

It’s nothing like that terrible extra $3 that DigInn will charge me for a steak substitution with my lunch.

So I eat the deposit. Financially scuffed, but morally defeated.

That is until I get an email from a fellow Columbia Alum, Ethan Mackay, letting me know of the launch of his product,, and how it sought to make the legal system work for me. They advertised legal services such as getting something fixed at my apartment, issues with debt collectors, and most importantly, getting deposits back from landlords.

So I took him up on the offer, and within 10 minutes, and under $20, I was able to file a formal complaint to the management company, being sent with an intimating law heading, and delivered in an unavoidable thick packet to the management company’s address.

Within 5 days of submitting my claim I received an email directly from Juris informing me that my letter was delivered the the management company. And exactly 4 days after I received that confirmation; I receive a phone call from an apologetic woman with management company informing me that a $500 check is on it’s way and that they’re terribly sorry for the mix up. She also made sure to inform me that they received my letter and wanted to confirm that this would satisfy my complaints laid out in the letter; because now I had held the power.

When I get home I see a reply to my email to the management company from months earlier, and it’s an image of the postage tracking for the check they just rushed out.

Two days after that, and I’m a new man with $500 in my pocket. Maybe I’ll treat myself to a few nice dinners, or maybe I’ll opt steak with my lunch for the rest of the year. And it doesn’t matter, because the taste of being empowered for a moment is one that red meat just can’t compete with. Thanks Juris.

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