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Landlord is claiming cracked/split as damage from movers.

Landlord is claiming cracked/split...

Landlord is claiming cracked/split wood as damage from movers. However, he did not do a move-in inspection so there was nothing to compare the move-out inspection. He scheduled the move out inspection 5 days after the end of my lease, in which I returned my key to the room. I was present at the move-out inspection and he said the room looked great and he'll probably send my security deposit back via an app. I asked for the itemized list signed and he said it was not needed since there was nothing to compare it to. He also mentioned that he's waiting for any damages that the next tenant will inform them that he didn't notice at the inspection, such as negligence on my part. So at the time I did not know that it was required by law that I get an itemized list of damages noted at the inspection. He texts me later to tell me that he found a crack/split in a stair post that he claims was caused by my movers that were there 4 weeks prior. He claims that this wasn't there in the beginning of December. But he was also there the week prior to the move-out inspection and didn't notice it then? I asked for a picture 3 times with no success. What can I do?

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

None so far.

Lawyer's Assistant: Where is the property located?

Loudoun County, Virginia

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Answered in 3 minutes by:
1/11/2018
Loren
Loren, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 37,869
Experience: 30 years of real estate practice experience.
Verified

Thank you for using JA. I am Loren, a licensed attorney for over 30 yrs., and I am here to help.

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The landlord may only retain any portion of the security deposit for unpaid rent and damages in excess of reasonable wear and tear.

If the landlord is claiming damages not done during your tenancy then your remedy is to sue them in small claims court for the return of the unlawful deductions.

Small claims court is designed to be a "user friendly", simplified process, 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.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I guess my question is did he violate the security deposit code? Would this help me?

No, he did not violate the Landlord Tenant Act, but you can force him to show you the evidence he has by suing him in small claims court.

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Did you have further questions? Have I answered your question? Please let me know.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I'm a bit confused because the VA security deposit law states that the inspection must be completed within 72 hours after I move out but he did it after 5 days.

Did you give a written notice of the intent to vacate?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I sent an email of my intent to vacate.

Then sue the landlord in small claims court if they did not give you notice within 5 days of your right to be present and then conduct the inspection within 72 hours of that notice.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
He did give me notice that same day via email. I'm sorry I'm not clear. The code says:"If the tenant desires to be present when the landlord makes the inspection, he shall so advise the landlord in writing who, in turn, shall notify the tenant of the time and date of the inspection, which must be made within 72 hours of delivery of possession. Following the move-out inspection, the landlord shall provide the tenant with a written security deposit disposition statement, including an itemized list of damages. If additional damages are discovered by the landlord after the security deposit disposition has been made, nothing herein shall be construed to preclude the landlord from recovery of such damages against the tenant, provided, however, that the tenant may present into evidence a copy of the move-out report to support the tenant's position that such additional damages did not exist at the time of the move-out inspection."

Yes, it appears the landlord did not comply with the time limits. So, as I said, your remedy is to sue in small claims court for the return of the deposit.

His violation does not preclude him suing you for damages, but it would preclude him from using the deposit.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Ok thank you

You are very welcome.

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Thank you!

Loren

Loren
Loren, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 37,869
Experience: 30 years of real estate practice experience.
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