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barristerinky
barristerinky, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 33761
Experience:  Attorney for over 15 years, landlord 26 years
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I have an estimate that needed to be done at my previous

Customer Question

I have an estimate for work that needed to be done at my previous place of residence for about $400. I moved out in August and I received a bill at the end of December for $750. There are extra repairs on the bill that were never discussed with the landlord and now they are threatening to take me to court if I don't pay the bill. Can they charge me for work that we never agreed to?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  barristerinky replied 10 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.

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Are you saying that the landlord gave you an estimate for damages when you moved out and then bumped the actual number up to $750?

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When did you receive the first damage invoice?

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And they didn't deliver the second higher invoice until December, correct?

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Are you disputing the damages that the landlord is trying to claim now?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
The original estimate was given to us September 23rd for the amount of $400. Both landlord and myself (tenant) agreed on that amount. An item for $35 was going to paid by the landlord which they have agreed on. We moved out August 1st of the same year. Then on December 20 I received an invoice for a total of $750 with new items being added that was already done. These new items were not agreed on or was I notified of the additional cost. I am disputing the cost of the new invoice as I was not notified of the additional cost at all.
Expert:  barristerinky replied 10 months ago.

Ok, did the landlord deduct that amount from any security deposit or was this something additional that you agreed to over and above any security deposit?

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Are you disputing that there were any additional damages (ignoring the additional claimed costs for right now)?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
This amount was over and above the security deposit. I am disputing everything that has been added outside of the estimate because it was never discussed.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I am being charged for things like caulking the kitchen backsplash and replacing weather stripping and paint on the kitchen baseboards. These are a few examples of things that we never agreed to pay or even discussed at
Expert:  barristerinky replied 10 months ago.

Ok, then if the sec. deposit had already been used up and these were additional amounts that they are claiming, if you can prove that you agreed to settle everything for the $400, then you can argue that you had an "accord and satisfaction" (basically meaning a settlement) and that the landlord is prevented from modifying that after the agreement.

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But if this was verbal and you don't have proof of the agreement (i.e. texts, emails, letters, voicemail, etc.) then the landlord could lie and claim that there was no agreement and he has the right to sue you under a breach of contract claim for up to 3 years under the statute of limitations for a written contract.

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So this will boil down to whether you have proof that there was an agreement settling the amount owed between you both that you both agreed to.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I have just the original estimate with itemization and documentation for every other item that we have discussed and agreed to. So since we never discussed the extra charges and I don't have anything written that says otherwise will I have to just eat it and pay the
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
difference?
Expert:  barristerinky replied 10 months ago.

Ok, here is the problem I see...if this was an estimate...and that is what you call it all along.. Then an estimate is subject to revision and is not a fixed amount that would be the basis of a settlement agreement..

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So if you had a rough estimate and then the landlord increased it once the actual costs were incurred, then your recourse here is to dispute that you were actually responsible for some of the repairs and then work towards an agreed on settlement.

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caulking the kitchen backsplash and replacing weather stripping and paint on the kitchen baseboards

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These are things that are considered "normal wear and tear" and you shouldn't be charged for anyway.. It sounds like the landlord is just trying to gouge you for costs that you wouldn't be liable for. So if they were threatening to take you to court, you can call their bluff and tell them that these are normal wear and tear items and not something that you are liable for as "damages".

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thanks

Barrister

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