A local landlord from property management group Uhouz has yet to provide answers to students who claim he kept their security deposits for reasons he hasn’t justified.
NBC Connecticut Responds first shared this story in November. Shortly after, several students, including Central Connecticut State University senior Ayana Shell, reached out saying the same thing happened to them.
“When I found out it was happening to Quinnipiac students, I was like, ‘Okay, so this isn’t personal,’” said Shell.
She told us she too got a damage report with charges that just didn’t add up, such as a 50 dollar fees for makeup stains on the wall, a hole in the siding, and a dirty washing machine in unit, in the basement.
“I think they just made up a number with the damages just to scare us off, which they did,” said Shell. “Because eventually I just stopped contacting them.”
When Shell moved in, she didn’t take thorough pictures, so she can’t prove those damages weren’t hers.
She says she tried contacting her landlord, Uhouz owner Mat Florian, several times before her final plea for attention—withholding her last month’s rent until he responded.
That didn’t work either.
“Obviously I owe them something, so I mean they can take that,” said Shell. “But I just don’t appreciate being taken advantage of.”
A similar situation happened to Linda Lucy’s son Christopher just a few towns over, in Hamden.
“I kind of thought from the beginning, well, you’re not going to get your whole deposit back, that’s just how it goes,” said Lucy. “But I never thought it would be anything like this.”
She says Florian initially withheld almost 3,700 dollars from their 5,600 dollar security deposit. When the boys complained, Lucy says, Florian lowered the damage down to 3,050 dollars for reasons her family still doesn’t understand.
Lucy said her son tried scheduling a final walk through before going home for summer break, but Uhouz waited until after the boys moved out.
“We would’ve gladly gone and walked through the house with them,” said Lucy.
At the time, Lucy didn’t think the legal fight was worth it. Town and state agencies typically won’t get involved unless they get multiple complaints. So far, neither the Connecticut Department of Banking nor local housing authorities have anything on record.
NBC Connecticut made several attempts to get a comment from Florian.
In November 2016, Florian said:
“It’s discouraging to have a case like this after all the efforts we have put forth, nor only in the lease term, but this matter as well. They are aware our doors are open.”
Since then NBC Connecticut has called, emailed and took him up on his open door policy. An associate said he was not there.
In the meantime, it’s a tough lesson for parents like Lucy.
“Take pictures when you first move in,” she said. “Get everything in writing and know what you’re getting into.”
She hopes other tenants won’t have to learn that lesson the hard way.
“This is money that you paid almost a year before you even moved in,” said Lucy. “So I think a lot of people don’t even pursue it. They just write it off as a loss and move on.”
To file a formal complaint with the Connecticut Department of Banking, click here.