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Landlord acting in bad faith double charging and charging for pre existing conditions?

Austin, TX |

My landlord deducted from my security deposit for issues that were identified on my initial walkthrough inventory and were signed off by the property manager at that time. (Broken blinds, light fixture, stain on carpet). We ended up moving out two months early and paid through the end of the lease, despite showing the apartment to several applicants whom the landlord all turned down. Despite my insistence the house was immaculate my wife also insisted we also pay over $200 to have a professional cleaning company shampoo the carpets and thoroughly clean the house, which we did. The landlord also deducted charges for cleaning and carpet shampooing even though we sent the cleaning receipt to the old property manager and new property manager before the end of our lease.

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

I am not admitted to practice in TX, so I cannot provide legal advice. This is for informational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship in intended, created, or implied.

That being said, you have a great lawsuit on your hands. Cannot guarantee a victory, but as close as I can - based on your set of facts.

HOWEVER, TX law is nuanced - even for Small Claims. There are many lawyers on this group that can give you assistance with this matter. Do a search for Small Claims and TX and look for some answers to previous questions. One of the MANY differences between TX and other states is that you are allowed to have an attorney represent you. You REALLY should consider this. Worse case scenario, at least have an attorney look over your evidence and perform a consultation!!!

Adam Jaffe Law Office of Adam Jay Jaffe 124 Lomas Santa Fe Dr, #204 Solana Beach, CA 92075 (619) 810-7964 www.smallclaimsappeals.com Adam@SmallClaimsAppeals.com This posting is provided for “information purposes” only and should not be relied upon as "legal advice". Nothing transmitted from this posting constitutes the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. Applicability of the legal principles discussed here may differ substantially in individual situations or in different states.

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Asker

Posted

Thanks. I forgot to add per TX property code under Sec 92.109 D the landlord has thirty days to respond with deposit or itemized list or they'll be presumed bad faith. The deposit check and itemized deductions were postmarked 31 days after and we did not receive them until 34 days.

Adam Jay Jaffe

Adam Jay Jaffe

Posted

Again, sounds like a good case to me!!!

Asker

Posted

Adam, thanks for the advice. We won our judgment. Now begins the process of trying to collect.

Posted

Hopefully you took photos and have witnesses. You can sue landlord in small claims court.

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Asker

Posted

I do have witnesses and took photos of the place before and after but no close ups of the damage. I was very thorough in my inventory report.

Posted

This is all governed by the Texas statutes and the precise language in your lease. GENERALLY SPEAKING, the landlord has 30 days from the date you provide him with your forwarding address to return the security deposit to you and give you an accounting with a written description and itemized list of all deductions. The statutes say that if he wrongfully withholds all or part of your security deposit he can be liable for triple the amount wrongfully withheld, a $100 penalty and reasonable attorney's fees incurred to recover the deposit. The landlord has no obligation to give you an accounting if you owe rent when you surrender possession of the property and there is no controversy concerning the amount of rent owed. You should talk to an attorney about this. Many attorneys, including myself, charge a flat fee for these kind of case, assuming there are no complicating issues. The statutes that you want to look at are:

Texas Property Code sections 92.101-92.109.

Good luck!

DISCLAIMER: This posting is not intended as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. This posting is for GENERAL informational purposes only and may or may not apply to your circumstances. For specific advice related to you, please consult with an attorney.

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Asker

Posted

Thanks. I sent my notice to vacate with forwarding address via registered mail at the end of Jan. The last date of the lease was 4/30. Rent was paid in full.

Andrea Sheinbein

Andrea Sheinbein

Posted

I recommend you consult with an attorney about the validity of the amounts the withheld.

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