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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Can my ex-landlord hold a portion of my security deposit for

Customer Question

Can my ex-landlord hold a portion of my security deposit for "stretching" of carpet and not mowing the yard 1 time?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ely replied 3 years ago.
Hello friend. My name is Ely, and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am very sorry for your situation.

The answer is he can try, but one has the ability to file in small claims court to get the deposit back, arguing that the landlord's withholding was not reasonable.

Under Tex. Prop. Code Sec. 92.101 et seq, a deposit may be kept by the landlord for:

1) unpaid rent; or
2) any damage to the property beyond normal wear and tear.

Mowing the grass is NOT damage to the property, arguably, and thus, this does not apply.

"Stretching" the carpet is subjective. Was this done by you? Or was it simply normal wear and tear? What does stretching even mean? And even if it was stretched, is its value that of the entire deposit or only a part of it?

However, the onus is on the former tenant to file (or threaten to file) a small claims court action in Justice of the Peace Court to get the deposit back. Often, the threat of doing so may have the landlord return the deposit, fearing litigation.

Finally, a landlord who is found to have wrongly withheld the deposit may be liable for up to three times that amount. Tex. Prop. Code Sec. 92.109.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Good luck.

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