The general rule is yes, you can still charge a former tenant for additional damages discovered after the final walkthrough, provided you otherwise comply with Civil Code section 1950.5. However, the amount that you can charge may be somewhat limited. First of all, repair might be possible. (You'll need to consult with a flooring/carpet contractor.) Even if not, the typical method of calculating the deduction for replacement prorates the total cost of replacement so that the tenant pays only for the remaining useful life of the carpet that the tenant has damaged or destroyed.
Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This Avvo.com posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.
You should check with a flooring contractor to make sure it is your property. Under California law within 21 days landlord should provide a list of repairs caused by tenant ( not wear and tear ) and return of remaining security deposit if any. You should have had a prep move in inspection which outlines the condition of the premises as well as a move out inspection. The fact that burn vs stain was discovered later than the move out inspection is not so much an issue than the timely report and counting and demand for additional costs under the 21 day mandate.
You can file small claim action if damages caused by tenant and not enough security deposit to cover. Good luck.
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