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Marsha411JD, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 20400
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp in Landlord Tenant issues
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I am a college student and in August 2015 I signed a lease

Customer Question

I am a college student and in August 2015 I signed a lease to rent an apartment with company 'A'. The deal I received for signing was no security deposit was necessary. In June 2016, the apartment company was sold to company 'B'. I moved out this past August. About a month later I received a bill from company 'B' for cleaning/painting the apartment . My lease states that I must leave the 'Apartment in a good and clean condition, with reasonable use and wear accepted'. It also states, 'When you leave, whether at or prior to the expiration of the lease term, your bedroom and the apartment, including but not limited to the carpets, walls, windows, bathrooms, patios, balconies, kitchen, appliances and furniture in the Bedrooms and apartment, must be clean and in good repair and condition. If they are not, you will be responsible for reasonable charges to complete such cleaning, repair or replacement, to the fullest extent permitted by law.' Prior to move-out my mother and I cleaned every inch of the apartment. There were no stains on the carpet, no damage to walls, no damage to anything. We left it move-in ready. Unfortunately, we did not take pictures. We have sent a letter to company 'B' stating that we dispute these charges and would like to see pictures of what they deemed necessary to clean/paint. We have been told by company 'B' that the proof is on us to prove that we left it that way. Is that true? We were under the impression that part of the cost of an apartment business is to clean and paint after a tenant leaves. So it should not be an extra bill that is sent to the tenant later.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.


Thank you for the information and your question. No, it is not true. The burden is on the landlord to prove that you caused damages that go above and beyond normal wear and tear. If they did not do a walk through with you when you moved out and noted any problems, they will have almost no chance of success in pursuing a claim for the clean up or painting. You are also correct that it is not the tenant's responsibility to pay for cleaning and painting as long as the reason for it is not damage or something above normal wear and tear. Otherwise, it is just the cost of doing business for the landlord.

You are in a unique position though since they are not withholding your security deposit, which would actually be easier if they were since you could file suit in small claims court for the return of the deposit. In this case, they sent you a bill. They would have to sue you in order to have a judgement to execute, at which time you would have the defense I mentioned. They might try to send this to a collection agency, but the debt is still just an allegation unless reduced to judgment. If they do that, then you might want to go to a local attorney and have them write the collection people a letter discussing the law and your position about the issue.

Please feel free to ask for clarification if needed. If none is needed, then if you could take a few moments to leave a positive rating in the ratings box above, I will receive credit for assisting you today. Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Since my mother signed as the Guarantor, if I continue to fight these charges, would they be able to go after her for the fees?
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.

Hello again. Yes they can try to collect from her, but she has the same defenses as you do. In other words, if you don't owe the money, your guarantor doesn't either.

Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.

Hello again,

I wanted to touch base with you and make sure that you did not have any follow up questions for me from the answers I provided to you on the 18th. For some reason, the Experts are not always getting replies or ratings (at the top of the question/answer page you are viewing or in the pop up box for this question), which is how we get credit(paid by the Site) for our work, that the customer thinks have gone through. In your case I have not received your rating.

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In any event, it was a pleasure assisting you and I would be glad to attempt to assist you further on this issue, or a new legal issue,if needed. You can bookmark my page at:

Thank you.