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After we wrote this piece about CitiApartments’ alleged practice of refusing to return deposits from renters, we got a lot of responses.

One thing we’ve heard — if you make a big enough stink, you have a better chance of getting your deposit back. Joy Anderson (who you can also see in the video above) says she spent several days calling and getting brushed off, so she went down to CitiApartments’ office.

I waited for a while and when the first person gave me a strange answer about not being able to get money from the bank I asked to see her manager. Peter came out and spoke with me in a very brusque manner as referenced in (my) Yelp review.
I demanded to speak to his manager and he said his third party person Andrew would speak to me but not for another hour.

Joy says Peter told her that “you don’t really have any options here, you’re just going to have to wait.” Says Joy “Well, people putting obstacles in my way has always lit a fire in me to find a way to make something work, so a lot of the energy came from proving that I DID have other options.” (Calls to CitiApartments to get their side of the story were not returned, and they don’t even owe us money!)

I wasn’t sure if I was going to have to protest or not to get the money back but figured I would either way.Instead of waiting, she left and contacted the rent board, which advised a “strongly worded letter.” The next day she sent that letter, and got a call in response from Andrew, the aforereferenced CitiApartments “third party person.” She returned to the CitiApartments office, where “Andrew took me into a conference room and after about 45 minutes of negotiating with them,” a check was cut and Joy and her deposit were reunited.

Joy was frustrated enough by the entire situation that after she deposited her check, she went back and picketed in front of the CitiApartments office for the next hour or so, saying “I wasn’t sure if I was going to have to protest or not to get the money back but figured I would either way.”

Is this a path we’d all choose? No, probably not. But, folks, it worked for Joy, so perhaps it’s an approach worth considering.

Joy’s story isn’t the only CitiApartments story we’ve received, and we’ll bring you more in the coming days. Send us yours.

Oh! And speaking of folks who won’t get back to us, still no word from craigslist (it’s all the way at the bottom, sorry) on whether or not CitiApartments’ craigslist advertisements requesting security deposits that they seem to know will not be returned would constitute a violation of their TOU.

So, you know what we’re still doing? We’re flagging the CitiApartments listings on craigslist for deletion.

While we regret the extra hassle this causes CL’s hardworking community managers, CL has been on the vanguard of protecting its users from being taken advantage of by the unscrupulous. Even if they won’t email or call us back, let’s work together to do what we can to encourage them to take a leadership role in this case, too.

the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at

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