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Landlord deducting $400 from security deposit

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
He said that he's deducting:

$220 for patching ant repainting nail holes in walls. It was a 3br appt, and we hung between 7-10 pictures all using the tiniest nails possible.

$90 for house cleaners. He admits that the house was clean (we swept, mopped, vacuumed, cleaned the kitchen, bath etc) but not "move-in ready" (didn't clean windows or baseboards)

$70 for carpet cleaning. The carpet had no stains and was less than a year old. (he installed carpeting in the bedrooms between the lease signing and move-in, which pissed me off because the apartment I leased was all hardwood)

$13 for replacing a crusted oven drip pan. (I cleaned the oven, but overlooked the drip pan because it was in the broiler)

Here's the thing, we did a walkthrough and he didn't mention any of that shit. Beyond the drip pan, all of the rest of that stuff seems like normal wear and tear to me. It's not the tenant's responsibility to make the apartment ready for the new tenant, is it? Are these charges bullshit?
post #2 of 16
The rules governing this stuff varies by locality. Look at your lease, or google your local tenants rights org., but that stuff all sounds pretty standard to me. You should have filled the nail holes yourself with spackle or even toothpaste and repainted or touched up the patches. The cleaning stuff is the thing that may be out of line, depending on local laws. You may not be required to leave it "move in ready." Or you may - it depends on the law. Just don't complain about the landlord following the letter of the law where he can, because 99% of the time the tenants hold the landlord to that standard when the shoe is on the other foot.
post #3 of 16
Are you close by? Go in and do the spackling now. You definitely should have done that on the way out the door.

Read over your lease about move-in condition. I'd definitely fight the carpet cleaning as a)it wasn't in your lease (because it wasn't there when you moved in) and b)he didn't specify the state the carpet should be in in writing.

You're going to have to eat the broiler pan.
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
I can't do the spackling because New tenants have been living there since July 15th. I'm fine with the pan. That's really my fault. As far as the cleaning and carpet go, I'm not paying a penny for that.
post #5 of 16
If you were on the hook for the cleaning or the nail holes I'd imagine it would have had to be outlined in your lease. They're obviously taking you for a ride because they already have your money and they can. How are you planning on not paying for it?
post #6 of 16
Did you and the landlord sign anything at the final inspection? Normally that's when these issues come up and both parties sign off on the itemized list. If the walkthrough, as you say, went OK and you have it in writing, they're trying to pull a fast one on you.

Also, you said you're not paying a penny for cleaning and carpet but if they are holding your security deposit you're out of luck, it seems.

Anyway, I hope this gets resolved quickly and painlessly.
post #7 of 16
Depends on where you live. Different states have different laws.

Here, if a LL fraudulently withholds security deposit, or exaggerates damages, a tenant can sue to get them back and also get 1) up to triple damages; 2) punitive damages; 3) attorneys' fees; 4) costs.

It's brilliant when it works.
post #8 of 16
Most places it is pretty hard to withhold things from the deposit without really good reasons.

Don't do the toothpaste thing guys are better than that. Either do it right or don't do it...of course I wonder why he is charging so much to fix a little spackle...that's what drives tenants to do things like put toothpaste on the walls which landlords hate.

I'd fight this though...the cleaning and carpet cleaning are crap, especially if he walked through the unit. The spackle charge is way too much (and like I said, if I were a landlord, I would probably prefer you leave the holes open so someone who knows what they are doing can fix them rather than filling them with toothpaste or making an ugly over-spackled mess). The drip pan is kind of BS. How dirty does a drip pan get? Don't they mostly just bake themselves clean when you use the over for other things? Why replace it instead of sticking it in the dishwasher or turning the oven on high for a few hours?
post #9 of 16
Without knowing the specifics of your lease, I can offer the following thoughts:

- I just moved out of an apartment run by a large management company. No charge for any holes in the wall smaller than a quarter was their policy. We had a lot on the walls - and some heavy, hanging via wall anchors - no charges.
- I'm also a landlord and the lease my tenants sign only specifies normal wear and tear. I wouldn't charge for small holes from hanging things on the wall. This doesn't preclude your landlord from being a dick.
- If the carpet wasn't dirty I can't see why they are charging you unless it was really worn. Carpet would probably be pro-rated on a 5-year basis for wear. I'm going to guess though that there was maybe some normal wear.
- Ask for a receipt on the cleaning charges. If everything was cleaned except the baseboard and floors, make sure that you aren't paying for a full house clean.
post #10 of 16
Whenever I pay security deposit I pretend it no longer exists and don't expect it when I move out.
post #11 of 16
Originally Posted by hoozah View Post

Whenever I pay security deposit I pretend it no longer exists and don't expect it when I move out.

While that should be sort of true from a bugetary standpoint, not expecting it back is just enabling more shitty landlords to keep doing this.
post #12 of 16
If you think your LL is shady -- its why you always hold last months rent back, particularly if there is only one month security.
post #13 of 16
and then get hit with a late fee. in many jurisdictions, it is illegal for a landlord to apply a security deposit to back rent. unless the lease specifically allows for it.
post #14 of 16
Unless it is absolutely forbidden by law no matter the parties agreement, a lease should provide that the the landlord has the option, but not the obligation to apply the security deposit to outstanding rents. If it doesn't say that then the landlord should have paid for a better lawyer.

Assuming you don't trash the place, a landlord is going to offset the amounts and move on. I would be surprised if somen filed a small claims action over the late fee.
post #15 of 16
A security deposit is something you should just learn not to expect to get back. Makes it better when you get something back.
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