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barristerinky
barristerinky, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 36570
Experience:  Attorney over 16 years, landlord 26 years
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I just got a bill for 2443.00 from my old rental company in

Customer Question

I just got a bill for 2443.00 from my old rental company in killeen texas
JA: Has any paperwork been filed?
Customer: no, I left the property on Feb 26, had a friend turn the keys in on March 31st, after she had done some cleaning and today I received this package with pictures and bill saying I owed 2443.00
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: no, thank you
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 month ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney and will try my best to help with your situation. 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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Did you break a fixed term lease or were you month to month?

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IF month to month, did you give the landlord a 30 day written notice prior to moving out?

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Did you pay all rent due up to March 31st?

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What are they trying to charge you for?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I had a one year lease that expired on March 31st, the day thay I had the keys turned in, the lease was not broken. I ETSED from the military and left on Feb 26 to take a job in my home state of Illinois. My fiancee stayed to clean and finish some things around the house, but the keys were turned in on the last day of the lease. I also did provide 30 days notice.All rent was paid in full.230.00 for cleaning
212.23 to remove trash
34.95 for drain cleaning
300.00 for 3 unauthorized satellite dishes
155.00 for yard care after we had already left the premises
400.00 for fire alarms they said were missing batteries
678.00 for general maintenence
386.12 for something that says #22 of notice of intent and tenant contract
294.00 for irreparable damages
173.04 for 6 days of prorated rent
110.00 for rwinspection fees
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I also was told they would let me know in 30 days what the status was of my deposit, I did not get this until today
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 month ago.

Ok, some of those charges seem ridiculous... $400 for smoke alarms that just needed batteries.. $678 "General Maintenance"??? "Irreparable Damages"???

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This sounds like a money grab to me and your recourse here is to sue the landlord on small claims court under a breach of contract action and force them to come to court and prove that what they withheld and charged was legitimate..

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This is what the law says:

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TX Property Code

Sec. 92.109. LIABILITY OF LANDLORD.

  1. A landlord who in bad faith retains a security deposit in violation of this subchapter is liable for an amount equal to the sum of $100, three times the portion of the deposit wrongfully withheld, and the tenant's reasonable attorney 's fees in a suit to recover the deposit.
  2. A landlord who in bad faith does not provide a written description and itemized list of damages and charges in violation of this subchapter:
    1. forfeits the right to withhold any portion of the security deposit or to bring suit against the tenant for damages to the premises; and
    2. is liable for the tenant's reasonable attorney 's fees in a suit to recover the deposit.
  3. In an action brought by a tenant under this subchapter, the landlord has the burden of proving that the retention of any portion of the security deposit was reasonable.
  4. A landlord who fails either to return a security deposit or to provide a written description and itemization of deductions on or before the 30th day after the date the tenant surrenders possession is presumed to have acted in bad faith.

So since the landlord is well over that 30 day limit, you can sue them for 3X the deposit and they lose the right to keep any of your deposit at all or hold you liable for anything...even legitimate things..

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The landlord has made a very costly mistake here..

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
With the 30 days, does that count from the day I left until the day I received it? Or the day they mailed it?
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 month ago.

The day keys were returned to them.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
ok, so I left on the 31st of March and it was mailed 28 April, I received it 16 May. So is that still over the 30 day period?
Expert:  barristerinky replied 1 month ago.

No, it is the postmark that matters here under a legal doctrine called the "mailbox rule". So it only matters when you turned in keys and when it was mailed...

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Darn, I thought you had a slam dunk here.. But you can still sue them for those ridiculous charges and force them to prove they are legit. The judge can still award damages 3x of any amount that is unlawfully withheld..

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thanks

Barrister