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MDLawyer, Lawyer
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 6122
Experience:  10 years in legal practice. Over 5 years in advising clients on landlord/tenant issues, including on a pro bono basis.
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Our old landlord is trying to shift us on the whole $1850

Customer Question

Our old landlord is trying to shift us on the whole $1850 deposit because of a few damages he claims are our fault. The two major ones would be some damage to the carpet and some dry wall damage from an overflowed toilet. The issue I have with those two items is that while my dog did damage about a 2'x1' section of carpet the rest of it was already in terrible shape and needed to be replaced (I'm talking stains everywhere and an entire room didn't even have carpet through the entire lease even though he was supposed to install it when we moved in.) As for the toilet, he's got super old hardware in the whole house, it overflowed and there was some damage to the dry wall. We told him a week or two after it happened (yes, we should have been more prompt) but then he let it sit for the rest of the lease unfixed so we had no use of the toilet in the master bathroom and there's no telling how much more damage was caused by waiting that long. On top of that he didn't fix major issues such as the downstairs AC breaking, large holes in our back fence, fan on the back porch never got fixed, dishwasher timer would stick and he never fixed that, left a vehicle and a bunch of junk in the garage (was supposed to be removed the first month or two and ended up staying there until the end of the last month), we never received a mail key, and plenty of other small things.
They're pretty much asserting that because of the dry wall and carpet that we forfeit the entire deposit and that just doesn't seem right to me considering the situation. Do I have any legal recourse or will the judge just tell me to pick better landlords in the future? I can provide more details if anyone would like to know more.
Thank you in advance.
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  MDLawyer replied 3 months ago.

Hello Nick and thank you for using the Just Answer website. I'm sorry to hear about your situation. Are you asking how to contest it?

Expert:  MDLawyer replied 3 months ago.

Also, did you do a walk through with the landlord when you moved out?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I'm vaguely familiar with how to file in small claims court. My question is more so asking whether or not we should pursue this case.He became very hostile towards the end of the lease so we pretty much just moved out and left. We do have documentation to prove the condition of the carpet but due to his insistence to only do business at my place of work while I'm on the clock we were not able to get documentation of the date regarding the leaks but he did pay someone to come and look at it about 1.5mos before we moved out. That's part of the reason we are concerned that we may not have a winnable case here.
Expert:  MDLawyer replied 3 months ago.

Unfortunately, I cannot give you legal advice as that would violate professional ethical rules. This site is for legal information only. If I were in your shoes, I'd send a written letter contesting the amount first and send it certified mail return receipt requested. Filing a lawsuit is always a last resort.

Expert:  MDLawyer replied 3 months ago.

The key to winning a case is evidence. Evidence would, for example, be the walk through you had with the landlord when you moved out and documentation of such. Additional evidence would for example also be proof that the damage existed before you moved in or proof that you did not cause the damage or that the damage was due to negligence or lack of repair by the landlord. You could also dispute the amount of the repair. Often, landlords overcharge and so, even if you were to be liable for the damage, landlord often try to claim a larger amount and more than they were actually charged to repair.

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