Our landlord is claiming that we caused mold in a washing machine. During the time up to 30 days after the end of the lease, the Property Manager/Landlord told us of the damage to the washer and that if we didn't pay for a new one then it would be claimed against our deposit and additional fees would be applied. So they wanted us to pay an additional $600 so that they wouldn't take it out of the deposit. Isn't that what the deposit is for, to cover damages?
If you caused damage, yes, your landlord can make a claim against your deposit and must do so within 30 days of when you vacated by sending you written notice of the claim by certified mail. If you wish to object to the claim you must do so within 15 days of receiving the notice. If you object, either you or the landlord will need to file a lawsuit so that the court can determine which party is entitled to the deposit. Be aware that the prevailing party would also be entitled to an award of attorney's fees and costs, which will undoubtedly exceed the amount at issue.
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Depends why the fee is charged. If they re-rented the property and had to lease one for the new tenant until you agreed to cover the cost of a new one, then yes such a "fee" would be valid; it is landlord's costs. If you are not disagreeing then tell them to take it out of the deposit; unless they already sent it back to you.
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As for the general protocols, I agree with my colleague on all.
Your facts are bit too confusing for this reader to respond. You ask at the beginning of your ost whether the LL can charge a "fee" of $250 - what "fee" is that?; then later you say the LL wants you to pay, "an additional $600" - so they "wouldn't take it out of the deposit." Not sure what you mean here, sorry. "Not take it out of the deposit?"
You also say the LL "told us" of the damage w/in 30 days- was that IN WRITING? Are you renewing? I suggest you clarify, add some detail and re-post your query.
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You are responsible for the value of any damages caused. What the lease addresses can only be determined by having a lawyer review the lease.
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