They did a pre inspection and the gentleman made comments about urine stains on carpet (which I steamclean on a regular basis) and cracks and pieces of plaster missing off of corners of walls. What is wear and tear and where can I find this information.
There isn't any specific place to find the definition of normal wear and tear. It depends on the property, its age and condition at the time you rented, and the current condition. It probably is more a matter of common sense. For example, how did the corners of the walls come off, just worn off over time or knocked off all at once. Ultimately, if the landlord and tenant cannot come to an agreement, a judge must decide based on the evidence. Take plenty of pictures before you leave, you may never get another chance and the judge will have to rely only on your testimony.
I take it the problem is getting your deposit back. Read the statute on return of deposits. There are specific duties you MUST perform and time limits for both you and your landlord with regard to the return or keeping of the deposit. Read the statute. Its Florida Statute 83.49.
I like Mr. Picchi's answer. Especially the pictures. Please take LOTS of photos, even a few close ups of the walls, floors, plumbing fixtures, etc. Use the date feature on your phone, or if you don't have that feature, if you have to go to court, you can make labels for the pictures.
I also recommend to my clients that they take one continuous video starting with the street number above the door or garage, going through the entire premises and ending again with the street number.
There is no standard by which to weigh what is normal wear and tear versus abusive physical damage that can be charged to the Tenant. Each case is decided by the judge once the case goes to rent due hearing or final hearing. It would be nice if we had a database that quantified these kinds of things, but we don't.
You must send a letter to the landlord stating that you are moving out at least seven days before doing so and include your forwarding address in order to trigger the requirement that the landlord send the letter to you if he intends to claim the security deposit. If you haven't done so already, do this now. If you have already given notice (which you must have, since you had the pre-inspection) but haven't given the forwarding address, do so upon move-out.
If the landlord sends the claim letter, you have fifteen days to object. Send a letter certified mail and a copy non-certified. State that you object and you demand proof and receipts. If the LL doesn't send your check or good-enough proof, you may sue in small claims court. Unfortunately, sometimes the court filing fee and the process serving fee are more than or close to the amount you are seeking. Good luck.
The lease will govern the relationship between the landlord and tenant. If "wear and tear" is not defined in the lease and the parties can not come to an understanding, then this issue may need to be litigated. If there is a security deposit being withheld, then contact an attorney to discuss your options.
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