(WSVN) - A woman in South Florida paid a deposit and submitted the documents to rent an apartment. But the manager said she didn’t send them in the proper format and she won’t get her money back. It’s why she called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Talk about loving to work. Deborah has a full time job.

Deborah Knight: “And I work a 40 hour a week job.”

She also has a second job, running her online clothing store.

Deborah Knight: “I like dealing with people.”

And when the weekend rolls around, she has a third job; cooking and catering

Deborah Knight: “I have a construction site, I have a nursing home, and I sell them food on weekends.”

Obviously, she doesn’t have much spare time, especially for an apartment complex that has some of her money.

Deborah Knight: “A two bedroom became available at the end of September.”

Deborah was looking for a new rental so she filled out the application, paid the $300 fee and sent in bank statements that they required.

Deborah Knight: “She called me back and she said those were not submitted in the correct format.”

That baffled Deborah.

Deborah Knight: “I asked her what is the correct format because those were uploaded directly from my bank.”

Deborah was asked to send the documents through her iPhone. She did, and she was told that worked on one statement but not the others.

Deborah Knight: “She said, ‘Well, it comes out as a PDF,’ and I said, ‘I have no control over the way that my bank uploads the bank statements.'”

Then the apartment rep had an idea.

Deborah Knight: “So her next solution was to give her my bank credentials, my username and password, so that she can sign into my account, which I refused. I refuse to give you my information.”

Deborah has better things to do with her time than battle an apartment manager.

Deborah Knight: “I asked her for the money back, and she said no under any circumstances. She wasn’t giving back the money.”

The landlords employed didn’t realize she was talking to a woman who works three jobs and is not about to walk away from her hard earned money.

Deborah Knight: “I just need to have my money back and they need to stop treating people this way.”

Well, if a manager doesn’t like the format you submit to rent an apartment, can they keep your money, Howard?

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “If they tell you upfront how they want the documents have to be sent, they can keep your money if you don’t do it that way. But otherwise, sending the documents in a PDF file, is a legally recognized and common method to submit information, therefore Deborah gets her money back.”

I spoke to the ppperty manager. She said Deborah’s pay stubs downloaded improperly.

The manager told me, in her opinion, she could keep Deborah’s money, but she did what we wanted.

Deborah Knight: “Help me Howard happened. I called you guys, you got to work, I got my money.”

Got her $300 and found a new apartment. Everything worked out after that call to Help Me Howard.

Deborah Knight: “No mishaps, no money keeping, no nothing. Just everything went smooth. So I’m very happy. I’m a happy camper.”

Help Me Howard happened. I like that line, Deborah.

Now, sometimes a deposit is not refundable if you change your mind or you breach the agreement. But if the landlord’s rep does, like in Deborah’s case, you get your money back.

It’s tricky so read what you are signing.

Someone deposited a problem in your lap? No need to fill out an application to remove it. Let us work it ’cause it’s our one and only job.

With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.

Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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