I moved from a complex where I resided for a little over 6 years (a little over 2 years in the unit at hand). I was due to receive $1935.08 from security deposit, escrow, and their interest. I received a letter saying that I owe the property $527.64 because of remaining damage fees. I was charged $1800 for carpet replacement, $200 for the stove being scratched, $251 for a cabinet being scratched, $176.71 for green marker ink in a drawer, $10 for a missing closet pole (it was never there, I have documentation to prove it), and $25 for one of the blinds being bent (no problem with that) All items are in very good working condition, I have pictures and video of my move out (because I turned in my keys, they said I forfeited their inspection). I'm being charged for normal wear and tear.
Today, I asked for an invoice of the charges and was not provided with one. I was told that they don't have it. I was also told that the carpet life was 10 years and its $2400 which would make me responsible for $1920 (which isn't the amount stated on the bill). As far as the cabinets and stove, they've told me that those are the amounts in which it would cost to replace those items. Here's a bit of extra info. My husband works for the property. He's the person who goes in and does the turnovers after move outs. He's informed me that they don't replace any appliances or cabinets unless they can't be used. Even then they take used appliances and materials from vacant units. They replace the carpets after every move out regardless of its condition. They also replace carpets every two to three years. If I had decided to remain on the property, I would have received new carpet exactly a month ago.
Landlord / Tenant Lawyer
What does your lease say about the return of your security deposit? The lease or security deposit receipt must "clearly state ... the terms and conditions under which the payment was made" and the deposit can only be used to defray "expenses properly incurred under the terms and conditions of the security deposit agreement." 14 DCMR 308.6 and 309.1(2). If you substantially previal in court or at the D.C. Office of Administrative Hearings, your landlord may be ordered to pay your attorney's fees as well. D.C. Code 42-3509.02.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER Mr. Borbely is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia. His response in this forum is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter in question.
1 lawyer agrees
You state that you're being charged for normal wear and tear. It is not clear from your factual scenario that these items are normal wear and tear. It seems rather clear that many of items the landlord is charging you for are not normal wear and tear. The point here, of course, is that this would be a penultimate issue for a court to decide in any civil proceeding. As with many court cases, the cost of the process in making the decision is often more expensive than the matters at issue. Rather than spending resources attempting to determine if your defense if valid, you may want to retain an attorney to attempt to come to a monetary settlement with your landlord.