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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 102145
Experience:  Attorney
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I moved out of a rental recently. I had one small dog and

Customer Question

Hello. I moved out of a rental recently. I had one small dog and the house was 2500 sq ft. Before I moved out, I had the carpets cleaned professionally. The landlord came to look at the house before I gave them the keys and they noted a few items that had to be cleaned(fans, blinds, etc) and said that the carpets smelled and had stains still. I had the carpets cleaned a second time & had them deodorized. We did a Walkthrough that evening and they said everything was fine and that they would refund my deposit. They did ask me to help them move some wood to the front of the house from a tree that had fallen in the back yard and I agreed to do that three days later. When I met with them to move the wood they said that they thought there was still a odor and that they were moving in new tenants the next day and if they were fine with it they would let it go but if they say something we will have to deal with it. I did not smell any odor at all so I was not worried.
I received a text a
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note:This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

Your question was cut off. The last thing I have is " I received a text a..."

Can you please complete what you were going to say?

This is not an answer, but an information request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I received a text a few days later saying that the new tenant complained about the odor and that they want to know how I would like to proceed. They also said that the air ducts need to be cleaned and that it is my responsibility. Also, that my carpet cleaner told them the carpets can't be cleaned & needed to be replaced. I immediately called my cleaner who said he never told them that and would back me up if needed.
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Thank you. Is the landlord withholding the deposit (all or some) due to the alleged smell?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
They have not said that specifically but have asked me what I would like to do about replacing the carpet. I want to know my rights before I speak to them.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I brought someone with me to the Walkthrough who witnessed that there was no odor and that the landlord confirmed that. They did take out a black light and showed us spots all over the walls and carpet but I explained to them that my dog is not tall enough to make the spots on the walls and that I know there were dogs in the property before I moved in and that they did not do a Walkthrough with a black light with me before I moved in.
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Thank you.

The landlord can withhold the deposit for damage beyond what would be normal wear and tear. See Civil Code Section 1950.5. According to California Dept. of Consumer Affairs that does a great job summarizing this doctrine:

"Normal wear and tear to carpets, drapes and other furnishings cannot be charged against a tenant's security deposit. Normal wear and tear includes simple wearing down of carpet and drapes because of normal use or aging, and includes moderate dirt or spotting. In contrast, large rips or indelible stains justify a deduction from the tenant's security deposit for repairing the carpet or drapes, or replacing them if that is reasonably necessary. One common method of calculating the deduction for replacement prorates the total cost of replacement so that the tenant pays only for the remaining useful life of the item that the tenant has damaged or destroyed. For example, suppose a tenant has damaged beyond repair an eight-year-old carpet that had a life expectancy of ten years, and that a replacement carpet of similar quality would cost $1,000. The landlord could properly charge only $200 for the two years' worth of life (use) that would have remained if the tenant had not damaged the carpet."

If the landlord withholds all or some of the deposit, the withholding is presumed valid unless/until challenged in Court by the tenant. It would be his word versus yours. If you have any proof (photos, etc, at time of walk-through) this can be used to help with the argument should this have to go to small claims court.

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