Reporting Kurtis Ming
A Sacramento renter says she received an invoice for cleaning her old apartment, but when she learned none of the work had been done yet, she called Kurtis.
One of the bills was for painting but when we called that number, the person who answered said they don’t paint.
“The papers looked phony, the invoices,” said Sabrina O.
The landlord said it would cost $315 for cleaning, steaming and painting Sabrina’s old apartment.
“I just had this gut feeling that I had to investigate,” said Sabrina.
All three companies listed on the paperwork told her they didn’t do any work on her unit.
The property management company, Laughton Properties of Sacramento, told her the invoices were just estimates.
“If the work can’t get done within that 21-day timeframe, you can do estimates,” said Cory Koehler, the senior deputy director of the Rental Housing Association of Sacramento Valley.
The Rental Housing Association of Sacramento Valley says the law allows for landlords to write up estimates of the work that may need to be done, but the information for the companies doing the work must be accurate.
“Any estimates that are done need to be by a company that’s currently doing business in the state locally,” said Koehler.
The president of Laughton Properties refused to go on camera.
After several emails, it became clear her office made a clerical error, typing up the wrong phone number and address of a painting company that does exist.
In an email, Linda Rutledge said: “I appreciate your bringing the discrepancy to our attention, since we obviously had not noticed it.”
It turns out Sabrina’s unit didn’t really need all that work after all.
The final invoices show she doesn’t owe $315.
Sabrina learned the importance of checking in with the companies listed on the landlord’s invoice.
“Call and confirm. Make sure they did do work,” said Sabrina.
Aside from a clerical error, what added to the confusion here was that another property management company was taking over this property.
The new property management group determined it didn’t need to be fully painted.