Cleaning & damages in excess of deposit in Oregon

Asked over 1 year ago - Eugene, OR

My landlord just sent me a bill for cleaning and damages for $ 881 in excess of the $ 895 security deposit . I live in the property for 5 years . What are my options for disputing this and separating out actual damages that I owe versus normal wear and tear ?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Brandy Ann Peeples


    Contributor Level 19


    Lawyers agree


    Answered . Did you have an opportunity to do a pre-tenancy walkthrough? If so, was anything noted at that time? Were you present during the post-tenancy walkthrough? Did you take photographs of the premises when you left? Did your landlord actually provide you with an accounting within Oregon's statutory time period of 31 days? These questions are important because their answers may help you establish normal wear and tear versus actual damage.

    Below is the link for Oregon's security deposit law (note your municipality may have other applicable laws as well).

    In terms of differentiating between normal wear and tear and damages beyond normal wear and tear, you really have to look at each specific damage. Keep in mind, under Oregon's statute, a landlord may charge you for things like carpet cleaning. Normal wear and tear is usually what's considered "minimal damage" and can include small scratches, minor scuffs, minimal nail holes, etc., on the walls or paint, worn or slightly stained carpeting, broken hinges, or other insignificant damage. Damages beyond normal wear and tear would include things like large holes in the wall or crayon/marker drawing on the walls, pet stains on the carpet, etc. Are there major damages to appliances, etc? The only real way to know for sure whether a damage is normal wear and tear versus real damage is to look at how the apartment was when you moved in..i.e. was that stain in the carpet already there..and to compare with the condition upon your leaving.

    DISCLAIMER: Brandy A. Peeples is licensed to practice law in the State of Maryland. This answer is being provided... more
  2. Robert Lloyd Mauger Jr

    Contributor Level 15


    Lawyer agrees


    Answered . Ms. Peeples gives a good run down for what the law is. As for your options, you can contact your landlord and try to work out a settlement and find out what the disagreement is about, you can dispute the bill in its entirety and refuse to pay and then fight about the facts in small claims court if your landlord decides to sue you. Before your small claims matter is heard, you'll be given the opportunity to mediate (at least in Linn & Benton county, less certain in Eugene). As was mentioned, the facts are important so you should have a lawyer to look at your case and help you honestly assess your position and what a fair settlement might be.

    Licensed in Oregon. Advice provided is general legal information relevant to the facts provided. It is not... more
  3. J Christopher Minor

    Contributor Level 14

    Answered . If you are unable to negotiate a settlement, you might also pay such part of it as you believe you owe, and inform the landlord that you dispute the rest. If the landlord chooses to bring a collection action, you can dispute the charges in the court proceeding.

    This comment is general in nature and is not intended as legal advice. It does not create an attorney client... more

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