BARKALOW Class Action Small Claims CLE CLARK Class Action

Iowa Tenants' Project
Small Claims Assistance

Moving Out of Your Apartment and Gathering Evidence

Our experience with the Clark Family as landlords, aka Apartments' Downtown, Apartments Near Campus, Michael's Properties, etc., is that tenants generally have most or all of their security deposit withheld and it is not unusual for the Clarks to take the whole security deposit and then demand more. There is no way to protect yourself against this, even if you follow their cleaning checklist perfectly, tenants often have large amounts withheld from their deposit. Your choice is simply to accept it and/or pay up the extra demanded or sue the Clarks in small claims court. You will receive no assistance from the city or state. Even the Clark Family/Apts Downtown class action will likely not be able to assist you because the focus of the class action is on cleaning up the Clarks' illegal lease, not the individual facts of your case. However, you CAN sue and you CAN win! The Tenants' Project is committed to assisting tenants in pursuing small claims cases.
Therefore the focus of this page is how to prepare for a small claims case by gathering evidence. First,
  • Keep a copy of your lease
  • Keep a copy of all correspondence and communications with the Clarks/Apartments Downtown
If you have verbal communications or communication by phone, memorialize the conversation by sending the Clarks/Apartments Downtown, an e-mail or letter, summarizing what was discussed or decided and telling them, if they disagree to communicate with you with a reasonable time, 7-10 days is fine. Keep a copy of this and anything they send in response!
Next, when you move out, make sure you leave the unit "broom clean" which means removing 100% of your belongings, all trash, sweeping or vacuuming, and a thorough cleaning of the all rooms, including the kitchen and bathroom. Once you have finished cleaning TAKE LOTS OF PICTURES!
While pictures are necessary, the Clarks/Apartments Downtown will have their own pictures, so if possible, once you have finished cleaning and moving out, get witness to look carefully at the unit. This witness should be:
  • Objective, in other words, not a member of your family or close friend. Having your mom testify is not going to help your case.
  • Over 30 there is prejudice against students, so if possible don't have another student as your witness.
  • Available for trial your witness needs to be able to appear and testify at the trial. Therefore an Iowa city or local resident is best.
Have the witness carefully examine the unit, take your pictures with the witness present and have them pay careful attention to the amount or hopefully, lack of dirt, stains, etc.
By gathering evidence you have the best chance of defeating the Clarks/Apartments Downtown at trial.
Here is a link to return to the main small claims assistance page.

The Iowa City Tenants' Project is committed to tenants' rights and to fair play for both tenants and landlords. The Tenants' Project seeks to educate tenants and landlords about their legal rights and responsibilities and to empower tenants to vindicate their rights in court.

For further information go to the Iowa Tenants' Project Contact Page