Carpet was nearly 10 years old and nearly ruined upon moving in. Now granted we had pets and they didn't help and by the time we needed to move out, the carpet was ruined. We paid $200 pet fee, $300 non-refundable cleaning fee and $950 deposit + first months rent. We didn't receive anything back and he charged us for carpet that was (by the time we moved out) nearly 15 years old + major fees for yard maintenance. For example, trimming bushes, cleaning shed roofs, repairs to the rain gutters, removing cobwebs from overhangs etc. PLUS the fact that the place did not have proper heating. He never provided adequate heating other than 2 little stand alone heaters, and plugging them both in tripped breakers. Avg temp in winter 45 to 55. Was his keeping deposit reasonable?
We also were NEVER late on the rent and we replaced the crappy linoleum flooring with beautiful wood flooring, replaced the dinosaur stove and removed wallpaper that was falling off the walls, and painted the kitchen a beautiful color. Kitchen looked 10X better than when we moved in and no complaint about anything inside other than carpeting. Update 3/7/2013 We just received a new bill from our landlord for another $140.00 for cleaning the garage dated 1/26, 1/27 and 1/28. Now mind you, we moved out on 12/19 and we are still receiving bills and he is now threatening to sue us. FYI, he is also an Attorney locally here in town. Not sure if we have a leg to stand on, but this is getting ridiculous and I feel like he is trying to milk us for every dime he can. Please, I need OR tenant/landlord advice
Personal Injury Lawyer
It does not seem reasonable. Contest the withholding of your security deposit in writing. Include a demand for the return of the entire sec. deposit because the damage he cites was either reasonable wear and tear, which a tenant is not responsible for, or repairs that are his obligation to repair at his cost (like the rain gutters). You should consult with a local tenant attorney if the LL wants to play hardball.
-Michael R. Juarez Law Office of Juarez and Schaeffer PO Box 16216 San Diego, CA 92105 (619) 804-4327 www.jslaw.org Mike@jslaw.org 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 jurisdictions.
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Employment / Labor Attorney
Given the amount you are owed, your best bet is to sue the landlord in small claims for the return of your deposit. Based on your explanation it does not seem that the landlord would be entitled to without much of your deposit. Not sure about the laws in your state, but in CA they are required to pay you your deposit within 3 weeks and provide you an itemized list of deductions otherwise you can ask for penalties in addition to your deposit. Landlord tenant law is one of those areas that there are actually a lot of free legal aid places that can guide and assist tenants in these matters. You may want to look into that in your local area to get some guidance as to your local laws.
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The landlord must provide a written accounting within 30 days. Under these fact there shouldn't be a charge for the carpet. You could seek damages for the inadequate heating (claim is for reduced rental value). I don't think you get credit for the positive improvements you made in terms of getting your deposit back but it certainly does make it unfair.
2 lawyers agree
I agree with the other attorneys. However, these cases are fact specific. Also, some deposits are not refundable. It depends on the rental agreement. I practice law in Grants Pass. I represent landlords and represent tenants on occasion. I may not be able to handle your case if I have represented your landlord or if I currently represent your landlord so this is considered as general advice for people who may be looking at this site. However, if you would like to contact my office for a consultation, please do so.