On the evening of August 6th, a tenant texted me about having inserted $3.00 into my building's dryer, and he didn't know what to do since his last two quarters became jammed in the coin slot box. Shortly after that text, I arrived home and attempted to retrieve the the two coins, but I was not able to grasp on to them. As I continued to see if anything could be done, the tenant's roommate came down to the laundry area and assisted me in trying to dislodge both coins. Because we were unsuccessful at getting to them, I immediately called for a professional appliance service repair, but the repairman could only come the following morning.
The next morning, the appliance service repairmen arrived and worked on the dryer's coin slot box for a considerable amount of time. While doing so, the tenant (who inserted the coins) entered and left the building on his errands. He saw the repairmen working. Finally, when the dryer's coin slot box became unjammed, one of the service repairmen handed me what he said was the problem. One coin was a US quarter, and the other coin was a Canadian quarter. As the repairmen were packing up and getting ready to leave, I called the tenant to show him the two quarters. I also handed him the bill, which totaled $199.00.
The tenant was surprised when he saw the Canadian quarter. He explained that he was using a roll of coins from Chase Bank. I gave the tenant a copy of the bill, and told him to tell Chase Bank that their roll may have contained a Canadian quarter. The tenant told me that he would pay for 1/2 of the cost of the work because he felt that that would be fair. I think that the entire cost of the service is the tenant's responsibility because prior to that coin box jam, the dryer was fully operational.
The last week of August, at the end of their lease
term, the tenant and his roommate moved out of the apartment. I retained $199.00 from the apartment security and returned the balance to the tenant. On the bank check refund, the memo read that the $199.00 was for the dryer's repair service. Because I had overlooked an email sent to me by the tenant with respect to his paying for half of the bill, he now says that he is no longer willing to pay half of the repair cost, and wants me to refund him the entire amount within 5 days.
What advise can you give to me? I'm thinking that he will take me to small claims
court. Am I responsible for my tenant's act and neglect?