Apartment Complex Evicts With Fake Excuses So It Can Raise Rent 40%

Javin got unjustly kicked out his apartment in Waldorf, MD.

The story is long and tortuous, but the basic gist is Fox Chase Apartments invented a lot of cockamamie excuses to evict him, steal his deposit, and re-rent his apartment for a substantially higher price.

The worst was reporting a “dangerous fire hazard,” to get the fire department banging on his door. In reality, he had an empty can of dental acrylic in his hall closet.

They called his tobacco pipes “drug paraphernalia.” They declared a “red sticky substance” on his porch to be attracting “swarms of bees.” Really, this red substance was water-based paintball residue, and the bees were carpenter bees. They only care about the wooden railing.

He’s set up a website to broadcast the abuses, http://www.Javin-Inc.com/foxchase

FoxChase has threatened him with legal action unless he takes it down, but he has refused to comply.

After evicting Javin from his $950 a month apartment, Fox Chase put his apartment back on the market the very next day. The new rent is $1350.

Fox Chase apartments are owned by ARMC (American Rental Management Company), with large holdings in Southern Maryland and Puerto Rico.

Javin approached 30 lawyers about his case but all have refused him. One told him, “…it’s a good old boy justice system down there. If you want to fight [ARMC], you’ll have to hire a lawyer from out of state to take them on…”

Anyone interested in contacting Javin can reach him at foxchase@javin-inc.com.

Comments

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  1. adamondi says:

    On the one hand, it sucks that they totally cheated the guy out of the apartment and his deposit. On the other hand, at least he doesn’t have to live with their constant harassment and outright dickery any more. I hate apartment complexes for this and many other reasons.

  2. Frank Grimes says:

    All I have to say is $950 a month for that place!? Maybe they’re doing Javin a favor.

  3. AaronM says:

    This is ludicrous. This needs to go national, ASAP. The picture of the evil-looking landladies did it for me.

  4. timmus says:

    Looks like Javin isn’t hitting all his bases:

    http://www.apartmentratings.com/rate/MD-Waldorf-Fox-Chase-
    “100% Overall Rating”

    Standing outside the apartment offices for a couple weekends with bigass sandwich signs saying “FOXCHASE AND THEIR RENTAL MANAGEMENT CORPORATION RIPPED ME OFF… ASK ME ABOUT IT” would almost certainly send rentals nosediving. EVERYONE who rents is going to drive up to the rental office. And you can bet that they’ll turn around as soon as they get a whiff of corrupt management. If you turn away 1 person a weekend, that’s hundreds of dollars in revenue. You can ask some friends to drop by and “pretend” you’re turning business away just to piss them off even more. Oh boy oh boy, that would be justice in spades, and they might settle so you’ll stop.

  5. TedOnion says:

    Was Javin evicted or did he just receive a request to leave and comply? I would think that any judge would agree with him that this is bogus, and not order an eviction. Javin my friend, good luck to you.

  6. Elara says:

    Looks like this happened several months ago- what kind of updates have there been since it happened?

  7. homerjay says:

    In Communist Russia, apartment evict you!

    This is sad. I used to live in a condo complex where I owned and there were people there that looked exactly like these two broads. They clearly had NOTHING better to do than stick their nose in other people’s business just because they could. These people should be smacked HARD.

    SO what if local lawyers won’t take the case? Did he try calling out-of-state lawyers? Its times like these I wish Denny Crane were real.

  8. Javin says:

    I don’t know if it will let me post all of this, but here’s the update I sent to Ben:

    As it turns out, they never DID send me a breakdown of what was wrong with my apartment, just the verbal problems they told me on the phone. Legally, they’re required to submit to me in writing any problems they find if they wish to evict me, and I have 10 days to correct/appeal. They never sent this information (knowing that I would then be able to appeal their bullshit “case”) but instead simply told me they would refuse to renew my lease at the end of the month. (It was coming up due.) I informed them that I would be putting up this site to let others know the garbage they pulled, and they set their lawyers on me, saying they would sue me for libel if I didn’t take down the site. I told them to bring it on, because I would love nothing more than for this to get in front of a judge. They never responded.

    Then, when I moved out, they claimed over $2800 in damages were done to the apartment. As I mentioned, I’m prior military, and that place was dress-right-dress when I left. I even vacuumed the carpet on my way out. Fortunately, I also took pictures of it every step of the way. I informed them they would get my last month’s rent ($920) MINUS my deposit ($300) and not a penny more. Again, if they had issues with this, they could take me in front of a judge. Again, they said nothing and pursued it no further.

    I contacted 30 lawyers in the area, and only ONE even responded to me. As it turns out ARMC (American Rental Management Company) owns all of Southern Maryland, and also Puerto Rico. They’re massive, and they do this stuff ALL THE TIME. No lawyer will touch them. The one lawyer that DID respond told me, and I quote, “…it’s a good old boy justice system down there. If you want to fight them, you’ll have to hire a lawyer from out of state to take them on…”

    Finally, as I started to ask around, I discovered that I was not an isolated incident. A woman I work with that was also at an ARMC apartment was evicted for a “breach of lease” when they claimed she had a boyfriend living with her who wasn’t on the lease. Their “proof” was a pair of boxer shorts (with the crotch sewn shut, because they were hers. She’s a hefty girl, and her boyfriend was quite skinny. There was no question whos boxers they were) and the fact that she had blue razors in her shower instead of pink ones. I kid you not, this was their ‘proof.’ She, like me, decided it simply wasn’t worth the fight and found another place to live.

    Out of curiosity, I called up the ARMC office anonymously THE DAY AFTER I had left the apartment, and asked if they had any apartments in the Fox Chase area. They informed me that “one has just come available” (sure enough, mine) and that the price was $1350 a month. According to Maryland state law, they can’t raise a tenant’s rent more than $50 a year. Because I’d lived there for 3 years, I was paying only $920 a month. Not terribly difficult to see what the deal is here. As prices go up, ARMC simply evicts someone from their apartment KNOWING that you will have no choice but to find another ARMC apartment at a higher price, since they own them all. Completely and totally illegal, but it’s how their business is run, and nobody can do ANYTHING about it.

    Needless to say, as a civilian, my experience with rental companies has completely turned me off to them. I will live out of my car long before I’ll ever rent again. Currently, I’m renting a very small, temporary room from a friend that’s too small to even set up my bed in. I sleep on the floor, and as you can see from my pictures, I’m used to a slightly more comfortable existance.

    In response to Timmus:
    Yeah, I haven’t had the time to log onto these websites to submit complaints. I no longer have internet access at home, so taking the time to upload the site in the first place, as well as making these posts, from work is pushing it at best. Plus, I just haven’t thought to. Additionally, I work between 56-65 hours a week at my primary job, as well as being a swing bartender just to make ends meet. I wish I had the time to sit in front of the office, believe me.

    In response to TedOnion:
    In order to evict me, they would have to have a reason, which they never did give me in paper. Instead, they simply refused to renew my lease at the end of the month since it was coming up due. At the time I put up the site, I was told I was being evicted. I haven’t updated the site since.

    -Javin

  9. Javin says:

    I’ve tried posting an update, but I think it was too long. Site wouldn’t let me.

    The “eviction” happened over a year ago. I’m currently living in a very small apartment that a friend was kind enough to rent me. It was supposed to be temporary, but ARMC owns ALL other apartments in the area, so has been longer term than I’d hoped.

    Long and short of it: They never did send the eviction notice, knowing that if I appealed it, they would have NO grounds. They threatened me to take down the site, or they’d sue. I told them to take me to a judge, they stopped. They told me I owed them $2800 in damages (apartment was spotless when I left) I told them to take me to court, they stopped.

    I’ve since found out they’ve done this to other people I KNOW so no telling how many they’ve done it to.

    Because they didn’t want to legally “evict” me, the lease was due for renewal in May, and they refused to renew it. Current “apartment” is so small I’ve been sleeping on the floor for the past year and a half.

  10. synergy says:

    I don’t know the law in Maryland, but I would think that there would be some time between notification of eviction and actual eviction. At least 30 days. I’m guessing here. Usually Tenant Laws tend to err on the side of the tenant instead of the landlord, so if he really had wanted to fight it, he probably had time.

    A quick search got me this on MD law:
    http://www.peoples-law.org/housing/ltenant/llt.html

  11. Mike_ says:

    Yeah, what Elara said. Monday the 26th was in June.

    I’d like to know whether he was actually evicted (i.e. sheriff ordered by court to remove him from his home), or if the landlord simply terminated the lease. In my state, if you’re month-to-month, the landlord can end your tenancy with 30 days notice. I don’t think they need a reason. Not sure how it works elsewhere.

    The best way to deal with a-hole landlords is to know your rights.

  12. Mike_ says:

    (Probably should have refreshed before I submitted my comment.)

  13. aka Cat says:

    Javin, did they give you 30 days notice that they weren’t renewing your lease? If so, you’re probably sol even if you find a lawyer.

    Aren’t there any individuals renting condos or houses in your area? I’d think there’d be something.

  14. Sam Glover says:

    It sounds like Javin wasn’t evicted, as others have mentioned, which explains why no attorney would take the case. It sounds like he agreed to move out (accepted their offer to terminate the lease, if you like), which leaves him without a remedy, at least that I can think of.

    Had he held out for the eviction proceedings, he might even have won the right to stay there.

    I’m not approving the company’s methods of driving you out, just pointing out that it looks like you caved, leaving yourself without recourse (other than the website and a big placard, of course).

  15. lemur says:

    Javin wrote:

    “According to Maryland state law, they can’t raise a tenant’s rent more than $50 a year.”

    That’s not true. See:

    http://www.oag.state.md.us/Consumer/landlords.htm

    At the very end of that page, you will find the following (I’ve labeled the question and answer for clarity):

    “[Question:] Is there any limit to how much my landlord can increase the rent for a new lease term? [Answer:] Maryland state law has no rent control provisions, although local jurisdictions may have rent control laws. See section on lease renewals.”

    Javin, can you explain why you are contradicting the Attorney General of Maryland regarding the fact that Maryland state law does not limit rent increases?

  16. Sam Glover says:

    It sounds to me like Javin accepted their offer to terminate his lease. Sure, they pressured him to do it, but as he said, he “moved out rather than deal with it any longer.” What they really did was take advantage of your ignorance of the law.

    The reason why no lawyer will take your case isn’t that the company owns the state (even if that highly dubious statement is true), it is that (1) you have no claim, and (2) you have no–or only minimal–damages.

    So your best course is to do what you are doing: make people aware of their shady methods of doing business.

    On the topic of companies with inordinate influence, when people claim this, they usually are either contacting the wrong lawyers (i.e. large law firms) or don’t understand why they don’t actually have a legal claim worth taking. Every state has lawyers that spend time defending the big companies and lawyers that spend time suing the big companies. I hear this a lot, but I’ve never refused a case because I was afraid to sue someone.

  17. Sam Glover says:

    Sorry for the repeated information. Comments were delayed for some reason.

  18. aka Cat says:

    I don’t think it’s precisely a case of ‘accepting the offer to terminate the lease’. Termination or non-renewal of the lease is just as final as eviction, as far as having to move goes.

    The problem is that legally there’s no expectation that the lease will be renewed, so there’s no recourse.

  19. Javin says:

    Okay, back at work… Now, to answer all the posts saying I “accepted” the termination of the lease, CatMoran said it best. They TOLD me my lease would NOT be renewed (although I don’t know if it was 30 days in advance, I’d have to go back and check the dates on all of this.) Refusal to renew the lease is no different than eviction, except that they have the option to do this without cause.

    In response to lemur’s asshole/snide comment: I don’t know if PG County has different laws, or what. I’m going by what I was told BY the landlords I’ve had. I’m not a lawyer, and don’t pretend to be. I fail to see how your statement in any way, shape, or form is related to what actually happened. Did you even bother to READ my website? So you MIGHT have POSSIBLY disproved a MINOR statement in it. Wow. Way to go big guy.

  20. Sam Glover says:

    For the record, refusing to renew is nothing like eviction, but this has more to do with the general lack of knowledge of what eviction is.

    An “eviction” is a lawsuit to determine the possessory rights in a piece of real property. It has nothing to do with whether you have a lease. The result of an eviction action is a writ of eviction, with which the landlord can remove you by force, if necessary.

    None of those things happen if your landlord refuses to renew your lease, unless they later file an eviction action to get you out of the apartment.

    Javin, you got treated poorly, that appears certain, but you also did not handle the situation in a way that would leave you with (much of) a legal claim.

  21. tonycontento says:


    Javin–

    It sounds as if you were evicted. I’m not sure of the specifics of Maryland state tenant law, but in most places your landlord has 30 days to get you an itemized checkout list of what was wrong with your apartment and your deposit check. He can’t just keep your deposit without mailing you this list. Now, most judges do not give a crap about the true meaning of “30 days.” So, the time between your checkout and when you get that list can be anywhere from 30 days to 6 months.

    But, if you took photos of your place before checkout and you never received an itemized list of damages to the apartment, you should be able to sue for your deposit back in small claims court. Other than that, you only recourse for satisfaction is sharing your personal experience with as many people as possible.

    TC

  22. jconli1 says:

    Wow. As someone who has been screwed by a rental company, I wanted to be behind you on this. But after seeing your responses, I’d have to agree with Sam above… you have to make sure when you’re fighting The Man that you come prepared and educated, not just passionate. Passion doesn’t change anything.

    FWIW, I’ve lived in northern PG county for most of my life and had never heard of a $50/yr rent increase cap.

    (Yes folks, real estate prices and the rental market in the MD suburbs is so ridiculously out of control, it is quickly catching up with NY and SF… which is always good for a laugh.

  23. Javin says:

    Again, as I said, I’m no lawyer, nor do I claim to be. The rental agency claimed to be “evicting” me with verbal reasons as to why until they realized I would fight them. They instead decided not to renew my lease (something completely within their legal bounds, but still shady, and unethical.)

    What the technical jargon means, or whether we’re talking about “posessory rights” or not is neither here nor there. The FINAL result is the SAME. I’m being forced to pack up, leave, and find a new place to start over so they can make an extra $400 a month with a new tenant. The harassment leading up to the refusal to renew my lease was completely unnecessary, unprofessional, humiliating, and a remarkable waste of the city’s resources.

    If I honestly thought I had a case to pursue, I would do so. However, as a non-lawyer, I contacted lawyers to see if any of them thought there was a case worth fighting. Obviously, none of them did, so I’m certainly not going to try and take the law on myself. I simply don’t have the time, resources, or knowledge. I can only do what I’m able; ie: put up the website to let people know how they operate, put the information out there on sites such as this, and due to a good suggestion from one of the posters on this site, I’ve also put a review on ApartmentRentals.com

    The long and the short of it is this: ARMC can, and WILL kick you out of your apartment, in one way or another, whether you’ve done anything wrong or not, if it will make them a few more bucks.

    Was what they did illegal? Apparently not. Was it unjust? Absolutely.

  24. Javin says:

    TonyContento: Yeah, I knew that much, that they had to give you a reason for keeping your deposit within 30 days or pay you twice (or three times?) the amount of the deposit if they failed to do so. They DID give me an itemized list AFTER they’d already refused to renew my lease, exactly 30 days afterwards, stating that I owed an additional $2800 in damages (including the last month’s rent.) I’d figured they’d pull something like this so had purposely not paid my last month’s rent. I informed them that I would give them my last months rent MINUS the deposit for a total of $620, and no more. If they wished to take me to court for the remaining $2180, I would be glad to go. They dropped the case, and accepted the $620, so they didn’t get my deposit.

    jconli1: Unfortunately, I whole heartedly agree. I’ve never claimed to be educated on how this works. As I said, I’ve only ever rented twice in my life. The military always supplied the housing for me. I didn’t even know where to START when this stuff started up. My goal is simply to let as many people as possible know just how ARMC functions and just MAYBE someone who IS renting from ARMC, who DOES know more about this stuff, will see this information, and know to prepare themselves well for when it happens to them, so they can take ARMC for all they’re worth.

  25. Javin says:

    Oh, and as a PS, I found out Waldorf is in Charles county, not PG, but I don’t know if that makes any difference.