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Roger, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
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Experience:  BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters
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My landlord took over half of my security deposit to steam

Resolved Question:

My landlord took over half of my security deposit to steam clean a clean carpet and charged me $330. I have requested the invoice, can't get it from them. Also, the contract with them does not mention a mandatory steam cleaning of the carpet. Do I have any recourse? Additionally, the house heating and cooling system was not working and they refused to fix it. During the summer, the temp was over 90 degrees because the air conditioning was not working. In December the heat didn't work and the electric bill went from $179 per month to $630. They had people out to look at the heater, but I could never get the heat above 65 degrees. I asked them to split this expense, but that was denied, also. Do I have any recourse? This is a nice neighborhood, 37 Sandia Heights Drive NE in Albuquerque.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Roger replied 7 years ago.

The landlord can only use your deposit for damages over and above normal wear and tear. What normal wear and tear is can be a subjective issue. However, dirty carpet is normal - stained, pet soiled, ripped, etc. carpet is not. Also, the landlord is required to have a walk-through with you and discuss any problems, repairs, etc. If he didn't do this, he may have waived his right to keep any of your money. You likely have a claim against the landlord in small claims court for your deposit.


As a tenant, you have a right to have all equipment working properly, and if it is not, you have a right to withhold rent until the unit gets fixed. If you have incurred these costs (expensive utility bills) because of the landlords failure to make necessary repairs, you can sue to recover part of that as well.


The judge may only award you a portion, but if you're going to sue for the security deposit, you might as well add this to the claim.

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