Oh, CitiApartments. Withholding deposits again?

Here’s a note from yet reader whose having some trouble getting her uncontested deposit back from CitiApartments. Keep on reading for some suggestions on what she, or anyone else in this position, might do to help get this resolved.

I am a former tenant of a CitiApartments building REDACTED. I had lived there for over 5 years, and in the words of my building manager, was one of the best tenants he had.

I moved out officially on the 22nd of July, (non-officially on the 7th, since I needed to move out before my 30 days were up.) and have still yet to receive my deposit, which was due on the 12th of August. I have been speaking to Adrienne Lowe (415) 252-4297 in regards to having my deposit returned, but have had no concrete answers and have gotten nothing but attitude from her. I also spoke to an Amy Lee (415) 252-4268 on the 5th of August, and she assured me that my deposit would be sent out on the 12th of August. Obviously, she lied, seeing as I still do not have the check.

I have been out of work since March of this year, and am having extreme difficulty paying all of my bills. I need my deposit back desperately. I am in dire straits, and will be unable to make my bills for this month. I have moved out of the country – one of the main reasons being I could not find work. I am now awaiting on my work visa here in the UK, and have absolutely no income. Things would have worked out fine if my deposit was returned to me. Being as I am in the UK, I am also afraid that I am really screwed, seeing as I cannot file a small claim because I am no longer a resident of San Francisco. Do I have any recourse? Or do I just have to realize that I have just lost any savings I have had left? Why is this fair to me & why is it allowed to go on?

I cannot believe that this company is being allowed to steal their former tenants money. This is our money. Money we gave to them in good faith for our apartments. How the city of San Francisco can let this go on is shameful and unexcusable.

I called CitiApartments’ Adrienne Lowe to get her side of the story. Her first response, after I identified myself, was to say “I don’t know who you are.” I said “I’m with the San Francisco Appeal, we’re working on a story regarding (this reader’s) deposit, has it been returned to her.” Her response: “Per my employment policy, I am not allowed to speak with the media.” Hmmm. That’s new. We also left a message with CitiApartments’ Amy Lee, which has not been returned.

This reader’s frustration with San Francisco is understandable — after all, the City Attorney has been working on their case against Citi for three years and two days. Additionally, while there is that class action suit against CitiApartments, winning it will take a while.

Though the reader lives out of the country, she can still file a suit in small claims court. So far, it seems like as soon as folks file, their deposits MAGICALLY appear.

However, if that doesn’t happen, this reader will have to return to San Francisco for the hearing. There is a silver lining to this, though: according to Civil Code 1950.5, Subdivision L, if the judge in her case finds that her deposit was witheld in bad faith, she can be awarded two times her deposit, plus “actual damages,” which, in this case, could include the cost of her flight back to the states.

Let’s be clear: there’s no promise that she’ll win that full award (and this reporter is not a lawyer, so this is not legal advice), but it might be worth is to her to take that gamble and at least file that suit.

Have a tale of CitiApartments living you want to share? You know what to do.

See all our CitiApartments coverage here.

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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