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I paid a 1200 decurity deposit on an apt and I had a carpet…

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I paid a 1200 decurity...
I paid a 1200 decurity deposit on an apt and I had a carpet cleaner come in to clean up so I'd get $ back. I was only living there 7 months so the carpet had just normal wear. I took pictures of everything and they are wanting to charge me for their carpet cleaner claiming that there was a 'big black stain'. One of the office people showed me the pictures management had in their camera of my unit and there were absoltely NO pictures of the carpet. Then when I talked to the manager she said that it was the pic before the one of the door which shows what unit it was. Not true because I saw the pic before and it was of someone's balcony. Either way, I heard that for pictures to be used against me, they would all have to be taken AFTER the picture of the dorr/unit number. Is this true?
Submitted: 6 years ago.Category: Landlord-Tenant
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3/6/2012
Lawyer: insearchoftheanswer, Lawyer replied 6 years ago
insearchoftheanswer
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 57,218
Experience: Lawyer; developer/owner of RE developments.
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Good afternoon. The landlord is not going to prevail on this. You should get a statement from your carpet cleaners and then file a claim against your landlord in small claims court for the return of any portion of your deposit deducted. Once you get your judgment awarded, you can have the sheriff serve a summons on him for a debtor examination. That forces him to meet you in court and answer questions under oath about his assets. After you obtain that information you have the power to

attach bank accounts, and/or have the sheriff seize other property to satisfy the debt.

 

 

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Please be aware that the information provided here is not legal advice. Rather it is simply general information. All states have intricacies in their laws and any information given is simply information only and specifically is not intended to be, nor does it constitute, legal advice. This communication does not establish an attorney-client relationship with you. I hope this answer has been helpful to you.

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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
Relist: Answer quality.
Lawyer: Lucy, Esq., Attorney replied 6 years ago
Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 32,264
Experience: Attorney
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Hi,

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

First, no, there is no specific statute that addresses the order of pictures. It wouldn't really make a difference, since the landlord could just as easily walk in take a picture of your door, then walk to another unit and take a picture of a stained carpet. For that reason, video evidence is usually best, XXXXX XXXXX judge can see the door opening, and the person walking in, etc. However, if you go to court, the landlord has the burden of providing that the amounts deducted from the security deposit were authorized. If you have receipts showing that you had professional carpet cleaning done, that will help your case - especially if you have your own pictures, and can get some sort of statement from the cleaner showing that there was no stain.

Texas landlord/tenant law heavily favors the tenant. When you move out, the landlord must refund the tenant's deposit, minus lawful deductions, within 30 days. Tex. Prop. Code, Section 92.103. He's only allowed to withhold unpaid rent or damage to the premises. Section 92.104. If the landlord withholds all or part of the deposit in bad faith, the tenant can sue for $100, three times the amount withheld, and attorneys fees. Section 92.109. Within that same 30 day period, he has to provide an itemized list of all amounts withheld. If he doesn't do that, the law presumes that he has acted in bad faith. So, if you sue the landlord, and he can't prove that you damaged the carpet, the judge can order him to pay you a penalty. The fact that they don't have pictures of the alleged stain will hurt them.

If you'd prefer not to go to court, you can send the landlord a letter, explaining that you had the carpet cleaned before you moved out (attach a copy of the receipt, but keep the original for court), that it wasn't stained, and that, if he does not refund the amount withheld immediately, you'll sue him for the full amount of damages allowed under the law. That should get his attention.
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
I got an itemized thing from them. She told me at first that she didn't see the stain herself but thats what their carpet cleaner said so that's what they are going by. My thing is that I feel the cleaner would say there was something there so he can get paid. Then she said she did see it and there is a picture. I do not want to take this to court. It is only $70 but it is just the principle of the matter. I paid over 100 to have them cleaned so I wouldn't run into any problems and now they're hitting me with this. It's ridiculous. I just want to know what I can do without bringing it to court.
Lawyer: Lucy, Esq., Attorney replied 6 years ago
You can send them a letter, telling them that they either need to send you the $70, or they need to refund your $100, or you're going to sue them for keeping those amounts in bad faith, which means that they have to give you $210 (2 X $70) + the $100 penalty. Basically, it's bad faith to say there's a stain when there's no evidence, no documentation, and no pictures.

If they believe you're going to sue them for $310, you may get them to repay your $70. I do understand why you don't want to take it to court. Just keep in mind that the judge can also order them to pay your court costs.
Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 32,264
Experience: Attorney
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