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I am attempting to recoup my deposit from my ex-landlord.

I am attempting to...

I am attempting to recoup my deposit from my ex-landlord. She is claiming that we left the house in a damaged condition that required $1730 in repairs. We have photo evidence and witnesses to state otherwise. I've written a letter of dispute and requested evidence of the damage prior to work being completed, but would like to know next steps in case the landlord chooses to pursue.

Lawyer's Assistant: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?

I prepared and sent the dispute letter to the property management company and received the invoice for less than the $1730 value. The details of the invoice do not include description of damage, but repair of wear and tear. I have asked for photo evidence and am pending an response at this time. I have not filed any suit at this time.

Lawyer's Assistant: Where is the house located?

Customer:***** NE, Shoreline, WA 98155

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

My husband an I have been in conflict with this landlord for the entire time that we rented the house. The master bathroom was in disrepair upon our move-in inspection and was never resolved. We have been told by the agent who completed our move-in and the move-out inspection that the landlord is attempting to recoup losses related to the required repairs.

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Answered in 3 minutes by:
3/20/2018
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 10,210
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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Security deposit issues are common among landlords and tenants. Part of the reason is because what is considered necessary for repair/cleaning vs. reasonable wear and tear is subjective. Each party has an interest in keeping as much money as possible. Nonetheless, the landlord has responsibilities under the law that must be recognized.

Generally, the law requires that the landlord provide an itemized list of the cleaning and repairs that must be done, along with the charges owed or the remaining amount after the deductions usually within 14-30 days depending on your jurisdiction. The failure to do so can lead to damages paid out by the landlord.

In addition, landlords are required to only deduct for reasonable expenses related to cleaning and repair. They cannot charge a tenant’s security deposit to remodel the premises. A fresh coat of paint is a common, reasonable charge. A brand new chandelier is not a common, reasonable charge.

In your case, if they have used up your deposit, then you may need to be the one to sue to get a return. You can base your lawsuit on the reasonableness of your security deposit. Based on the amount, it would likely be in small claims court. If she sues you, then you would be able to defend on the grounds that the charges were unreasonable.

What other questions did you have for me today that I can help you out with:-)?

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Can you provide the steps required for filing the suit? I can show you the documentation that I have available at the moment.

Sure thing. Please keep in mind your county may have specific forms you must fill out so be sure to check, but I can provide you the other details.

Filing a lawsuit is relatively simple, but there are some specific steps you must follow. Generally, you will want to begin with drafting up your complaint on 28-line pleading paper. You can usually get 28-line pleading paper as a Microsoft Word template or just looking online for a free copy of one. I usually recommend that you begin with a brief introduction and then start a new heading with a new paragraph where you lay out the facts. Once you are done laying out the facts, create a new heading that provides your legal analysis. For example, you could say that a breach of contract occurs when someone fails to fulfill their obligation in an agreement. It doesn't have to be very long, but something that explains what your legal authority is to bring the case. Afterward, you will want to have your “Prayer for Relief” as a separate heading and then you put in what you want (e.g. amount of money you want). Make three copies of this.

Once you do that, you should either look online or go to the courthouse to find out if there are any specific forms you must fill out. Many county courthouses require specific forms depending on the cause of action that you have and they’ll reject it if you don’t have the right forms. If you can get three copies in advance of going to the courthouse, do so and attach them to your complaint.

Once you fill out the forms and you have your complaint, you should go to the courthouse and file them. Most lawsuits require a filing fee. The court will stamp that the docs have been received. The court will keep one copy of the received document and the court will give you back the others (one for you to keep and one for you to serve).

When you get those documents, you should go to www.thumbtack.com and find a process server. A process server is a person who will serve a copy of the lawsuit on the other party. Service is required when you are suing someone for almost all papers you file with the court. A process server must be at least 18 years old and not involved in the case in any way. If you have a friend or family member who can do it, they can serve it for you, too. Otherwise, most process servers charge something like 50-100 dollars. Once service is complete, the process server will typically have to file a “proof of service” form to swear to the court that they filed the documents.

Finally, there’s the discovery process where you can ask the other party for documents and even take statements from witnesses (these are called depositions). If you can’t reach agreement, then you go to trial.

Did you have any other questions for me today that I could help you with?

Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 10,210
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Thank you for this info. I will proceed from here!

You bet!

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