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Marsha411JD, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 20067
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp in Landlord Tenant issues
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I hope someone can help me. I am moving out of a rental I

Customer Question

I hope someone can help me. I am moving out of a rental I rented for 1 year. I've never been late on rent, have professional landscapers take care of the yard and trees and changed the AC filter every 2 months. I had to pay a $4,500 deposit which includes a $500 pet deposit because of a 602 credit score and no rental history because of my military service and living on base my entire 21 years in the service. I gave my 30 day written notice on the 26th of July and paid rent through Sept 1st. The landlord is showing the house even though we have not entirely moved out yet and he says he notices a urine smell by the back door and in my sons room, which I assume is from the cat. I myself do not notice any odor at all, but maybe that's due to nose blindnes. So I told him I would pay for the carpets to be replaced in the two rooms because I want to leave the house in the same if not better condition than I found received it. He said that I would need to pay to have the carpets replaced in the entire house, because the carpets would not match. In addition he wants me to pay for an ozone treatment and to have the vents cleaned, which he quaoted would be suprise, about $4,000. I want to do my part but I feel he is trying to take advantage of me. What are my legal rights?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for the information and your question. In order to assist you properly I will need to know what State you are renting the property in.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am in San Antonio Texas
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you ma'am I'm in Texas
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.
Hello again and thank you for that information. Your landlord may only may deductions from your security deposit, (or pursue a lawsuit for damages if they are above your deposit), for damages you caused that exceed normal wear and tear and are reasonably necessary to put the property back into the position you received it. That would normally mean that if your pet did cause unrepairable damage to the carpet that was not there when you moved in, he could replace the carpet in that room. However, just because the carpet he picks doesn't match the rest of the house exactly does not mean you are on the hook for paying for a complete recarpet of the house. That goes beyond what any court would reasonably expect you to do.
The landlord has the burden of proof to show that you created the damage and that the repairs are reasonable and necessary. Only a court can decide that fact though after taking testimony and reviewing any evidence presented. As for the Ozone and vent cleaning issue, that is even more attenuated since those issues usually are considered the cost of home ownership and not "damage." Again, for a court to decide if you cannot reach an agreement.
If the landlord refuses to refund your deposit within the 30 days after you move required by the law, then you can file suit in small claims court for the money you are owned. If you get no letter from him at all within that time period that contains the itemized costs, then you can sue for not only your main security deposit back but also 3 times the amount you are owed plus $100 in damages.
Please feel free to ask for clarification if needed.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you ma'am, that helps a lot. Thank you. How much would you charge to write the landlord a letter stating those facts for me?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also, should I go ahead and have the carpets cleaned and take the chance that he want's me to still pay for the carpets to be replaced?
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.
You're welcome. Unfortunately though since we cannot form an attorney-client relationship due to the Site TOS and my Bar ethics rules, I cannot write a letter to the landlord for you. At this point you don't have to write a letter if you don't want to. But if he doesn't meet the 30 day deadline, you can send a demand letter and give him a few dys (maybe 10) to pay you or you will file suit. You can refer to the law which is at the following link (see Subchapter C):
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.
I just saw your follow up question that you sent when I was responding to your prior question. If you haven't had the carpets professionally cleaned, then you might consider doing so and having them do a "pet urine" treatment to the carpet. That would help your case more with the court if the landlord still insists on replacing the carpet.
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.
Hello again,
I wanted to touch base with you and make sure that you did not have any further follow up questions for me from the answers I provided to you on the 18th. For some unknown reason, the Experts are not always getting replies or ratings (in the pop up box for this question, which is how we get credit (paid) for our work) that the customer thinks have gone through. In your case I received neither. If you are having technical difficulties with reading, replying, or rating, please let me know so that I can inform the Site administrator.
In any event, it was a pleasure assisting you and I would be glad to attempt to assist you further on this issue, or a new legal issue, if needed. You can bookmark my page at:
Thank you.

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