I'll try and keep this as short as possible. Here is a link to a site that reviews landlords and our guy is one of them. The only positive reviews on the site are false, as he forced my friend and I to write them through threats of making our lives at his property hell for the duration of our lease. http://www.landorslum.com/landlords/dale-trout
That should give you an idea of the type of person our "landlord" is. If you're wondering why the hell we rented from him in the first place, the answer is there were barely any options and we were just unsuspecting college kids needing a place to live (lesson learned).
About halfway into our lease we learned how much of a scumbag this guy really is, and that he steals as much as he can at the end of the lease by charging "$400 to clean microwaves" etc. The house I live in is large and we have 12 of us total. The lease ends in two weeks. Knowing what I do now, I would have taken hundreds of pictures, demanded repairs be made at the start of the lease, documented everything etc.
My question is, since I was too dumb to do that at the beginning, is there any way to protect myself and my housemates at this point?
Security deposits are $500 a person (one month's rent), and judging from talks with other tenants of his, he will take every single one. He is also going to try and bill us upwards of $15,000 from what we are told for random damages. The problem is he leaves the house in such horrible condition that things naturally break and fall apart, and he leaves us with the bill when he finally MUST fix them.
If anyone has any legal advice such as how to preemptively stop this guy from running his scheme on us I'd really appreciate it. I understand there's a good chance that it's too late but figured it's worth posting anyway.
We are actually all okay at this point with losing our deposits as we know that's the minimum of what he'll try and hit us with. We tried to give him forms at the beginning of the lease that stated the condition of everything in the house but he refused to take them, saying that he doesn't use them anymore.
Again, my roommates and I now realize how stupid/naive we were but sadly a lot of college kids fall into the same trap. I am cool with losing my $500, but I'm afraid it's going to get to be like $2000 a person with how this guy operates. Thanks for any help/tips.