CitiApartments (or First Apartments or FirstApartments or Firstapts) has proven that it’s far easy to pass the uncontested security deposit buck when your former tenant’s moved out of a building that’s gone into receivership. But what of former tenants of your dwindling roster of buildings you still own? Well, then a former employee must be to blame! Check it:

Reader A. says they moved out of a CitiApartments (or First Apartments or FirstApartments or Firstapts) building at 626 Powell on September 17, after assurances that their whole deposit check of $2100 plus 2.5 years interest “would be returned since the place looked great.”

After trying to reach the former property manager (gone) and accounting person (also gone), A. received the following email:

From: Mike Xie []
Sent: Thursday, October 15, 2009 2:40 PM

My name is Mike Xie and I am the new Property Accountant for 626 Powell St. Adrienne Lowe, unfortunately, is no longer with the company. Given this transition, I am currently working through work that was not performed. I have received your completed move out inspection sheet and will be moving you out of the system shortly. There are no deductions indicated on the completed move out inspection sheet…

Lastly, in regards to your interest on security deposit question, interest will be applied to your account upon moving out. It will be included in your move out refund check.

Hey! I remember Adrienne Lowe! While I think we’ve all been in the position of cleaning up someone else’s mess, it’s a bit surprising to hear blame being cast in this fashion. Or not? After all, this is CitiApartments (or First Apartments or FirstApartments or Firstapts).

On November 6, A. emailed Xie again, as no deposit had been received. The response:

From: Mike Xie []
Sent: Wednesday, November 11, 2009 11:45 AM

I wanted to let you know that I consulted with my Controller/CFO today and she has approved for a check to be issued. I have forwarded your move out statement to our Accounts Payable Department to have a check issued and have our owners sign it. One it is returned back to me, it will be going out in the mail as soon as I get it.

A. wrote back, asking for a time frame. His response:

From: Mike Xie []
Sent: Wednesday, November 11, 2009 1:37 PM

Unfortunately, I do not have a time frame as I do not want to be held accountable for giving you false information or a date. I will however try my best to push this forward and expedite the process.

That was 6 business days ago. We’ve left a message with Xie, asking him to help us understand if there’s another reason A. still hasn’t received a check. We’ll update you if and when he responds.

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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