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Ask Loren Your Own Question
Loren, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33476
Experience:  30 years of real estate practice experience.
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I just moved out of a rented house. There was no damage per

Customer Question

I just moved out of a rented house. There was no damage per realty company. The owner wanted the house painted and grout cleaned and more rock added to the yard. For this he kept my 1,000 deposit. He has no before pictures of the property. Can he do this?
JA: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Arizona
JA: Has any paperwork been filed?
Customer: No you're the first person I talked to.
JA: Thank you.
Customer: What can I do about this. I even bought new blinds to make sure I wouldn't be charged for more than a cleaning fee.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No, I just need some great advice.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Loren replied 8 months ago.

Good day. I am Loren, a licensed attorney, and I look forward to assisting you.

You, as a tenant, are only liable for damages exceeding reasonable wear and tear, and that is all that may be deducted from the security deposit (aside from unpaid rent).

So, the painting, grout and rock seem more like routine maintenance.

You can sue the landlord in small claims court to recover the deposit which was improperly withheld. You may also be awarded punitive damages, attorney fees and court costs.

Small claims court is designed to be "user friendly" so that you can present a claim without an attorney. Also, it moves much more quickly than regular court. You can get the necessary forms to start from the clerk of the court.