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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 20357
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. experience with Real Estate
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The manager of my previous Apt. Complex here in Austin, TX,

Customer Question

Hi, the manager of my previous Apt. Complex here in Austin, TX, has given several Notices of Non Renewal to residents who have been living there for many years, with no reasonable justifications (empty verbal excuses, not based on real facts or issues). I was one of them. After 7 years living there, I received a notice and had to move out. That created a tension between me, tha manager, and th landlord comany. After having some free tenant counseling in Austin, they tols me I "didnt have a case" to fight their decision. Now, that I am totally moved out, I received a note saying I have a move out balance and my security deposit was not enough. Notice this was an apartment occupied for 7 years, with normal wear and tear, and a reason for tension with the same manager, that didn't want to change it. I don;t think it is fair or legal for them to change this balance of $320 for Ozone treatment and 'painting of walls', that needed top be painted anyway to host the new resident. What do you suggest me to do?
JA: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state the property is in?
Customer: Austin, TX
JA: Has any paperwork been filed?
Customer: No, I explained everything above...
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: no, thanks
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 10 months ago.


Thank you for the information and your question. If you believe that the management of the apartments have withheld your security deposit for repairs for items that were "normal wear and tear" or for painting or cleaning that was not due to any misuse on your part, then you can file a small claims court suit against them for the return of your security deposit. At the same time, of course, you could decline to send them any additional money. They may file a counter claim against you for the damages they say you caused.

At court, the landlord though will carry the burden of proof to show that you not only caused the damages, that they were above normal wear and tear, but also that the charges against your security deposit and additional money they want is reasonable in light of the necessary work. That burden will be very hard for the landlord to carry unless you did a walk through with pictures when you moved in and when you moved out and they noted the issues and you agreed. So, you have a decent chance of prevailing in your small claims court case.

Please feel free to ask for clarification if needed. If none is needed, then if you could take a moment to leave a positive rating in the ratings box above, I will receive credit for assisting you today. Also, if you will, could you let me know you have received my response and that it answered your questions. Thank you

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Hi, Marcha, thank you for your answer. Due to the previous tensions with the manager related to the carpet change and Notice of Non Renewal with no grounded justification, I believe this is part of a retaliation from the manager, especially after I wrote a letter to their landlord, that ended up siding with her. The ONLY different think they could claim is that I painted a few walls with colors (kitchen and living room, aprox. 4 walls), but I thought that was not going to be an issue because the whole apartment would needed to be painted as a whole after 7 years of normal wear and tear. Unfortunately, I did not take photos either when I moved in, or when moved out. I only have some informal pictures of the color walls in the living room and kitchen. I also don;t know why they needed to make an Ozzone treatment in the apt. I was complaining about allergies and wanted to change my carpet, and maybe they found out an allergy source? If that's the case, it could also add to my case, maybe.. I already did a small claims process against a cell phorn company in the past, so I know what to do. If I win, would the landlord pay for my application and Sheriff representation fees? What could happen IF I loose? Would I have to pay for their expensive corporate lawyer?
Thanks for all, I will give you a positive rating after I get this clarified.
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 10 months ago.

Hello again Moses and thank you for your reply. I apologize for the delay in getting back to you, but I was out of my office and then the Site system would not let me access your question. In any event, although it would have been helpful if you had before and after pictures, you are not the one that has to prove the damages, they are. So, if they don't have the walk through records and pictures of when you moved in and out, they are the ones who will be hurt. The painting might be another matter, but the judge will decide based on what they think the landlord would have had to do in the case of normal wear and tear. If they decide he would have had to paint the walls anyway, then you might not have to pay for that. But again, the charge must be reasonably necessary to repair damage or misuse caused by you and no more.

If you win, the court can, and usually does, award court costs, fees and reasonable attorneys fees to the winning side. They judge doesn't have to do that but can. Even if you lost, you wouldn't normally be required to pay any excessive attorney's fees since small claims court is supposed to be the "people's" court without attorneys when possible and because tenants are usually not treated that way by the court.

Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 10 months ago.

Hello again,

I wanted to touch base with you and make sure that you did not have any further follow up questions for me from the answers I provided to you on the 2nd. 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.

Please keep in mind that I cannot control the law or your circumstances, and am ethically bound to provide you with accurate information based on the facts you give me even if the news is not good. If you are having technical difficulties with reading, replying or rating,please let me know so that I can inform the Site administrator.Please note that Site use works best while using a computer and using either Google Chrome or Firefox.

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.