Real Estate Law

Have real estate law questions? Ask a real estate lawyer.

Ask a Lawyer,
Get an Answer ASAP!

Tenant claims I have no right to use pet deposit to clean…

Customer Question
Tenant claims I have...

Tenant claims I have no right to use pet deposit to clean house after her departure. Claims Georgia Code O.C.G.A. 44-7-30 through 44-7-36.

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

No. No legal action from either side so far. Just a warning letter from her.

Lawyer's Assistant: Have you talked to a Georgia lawyer about this?

I have not. It is only 600.00$

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

I was not in town on the day of her departure. Later house had odor of dog and I had it professionally deodorized and cleaned. I have all receipts of these actions.

Submitted: 1 month ago.Category: Real Estate Law
Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own Real Estate Law Question
Answered in 2 minutes by:
3/14/2018
Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 1 month ago
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 10,172
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
Verified

Hello! I am a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly 100% satisfaction rating (click here for more info) so all that means is that you can count on me to help today. Because I want to provide you with the most accurate answer possible, do you mind if I take a moment to review your question?

Please keep in mind that our conversation does not include an attorney-client relationship and this is for general information purposes only.

Ask Your Own Real Estate Law Question
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
I understand.
Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 1 month ago

Great, thank you! The system may automatically ask you for a phone call; however, it’s not required that you take it. Bear with me a moment while I review…

Ask Your Own Real Estate Law Question
Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 1 month ago

Thanks so much for your patience. Ok, so based on what I can see, I can't see anything that says that you can't use a pet deposit to clean the house after the departure. I reviewed the code and that seems unusual that the law would even say that. Did you plan on using the pet deposit for something other than what the pet did?

Ask Your Own Real Estate Law Question
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
No. All funds went toward cleaning.
She states I have only 3 days to walk through and make these cleaning decisions or deposit may not be held.
Our lease agreement gives me 30 days.
She says these statutes override our agreement.
Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 1 month ago

I see. So, in the state of Georgia, a landlord has three days after a tenant terminates occupancy to inspect the unit for damages and provide the tenant with a list of things that they are going to be charged for.

The list must then be furnished to you within five business days from termination of the occupancy to hand in the charges to the tenant.

In your case, if there was an agreement to the contrary, then the sad part is that the law does override the lease. The reason is because a court will look at a lease agreement and make any portion of the lease that is against the law unenforceable. So, the rest of the lease was probably enforceable, but that section would not be.

Ask Your Own Real Estate Law Question
Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 1 month ago

I don't know if this is something I would risk. If you want to avoid giving back all of the money from the deposit, you may need to go another route.

One little known, but very effective tool that lawyers use when there isn’t a law that they can rely on to support their position is called principled negotiation. All this means is that you are looking to get something done on the basis of principles, even if you can’t find a law to support you. It takes the anxiety out of dealing with the other side because you’re focused on the facts, not each other.

Here are some simple steps you can follow:

  1. Figure out what the other side’s interests are (saving money, saving time, etc.?);

  2. Think about what your interests are (saving money, saving time, etc.?);

  3. Come up with 2 to 3 reasonable and objective ways to solve the problem;

  4. Present it to the other side;

  5. If the other side rejects, ask them, “Is there a reason why you do not feel it is necessary to negotiate?”

Of course, these are just building blocks to get the other party to help solve the dispute. Believe me when I say that good lawyers use this technique all the time to keep things out of court. You’ll find that it is very effective even with the most stubborn of individuals.

What other questions did you have for me regarding this?

Ask Your Own Real Estate Law Question
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Problem is that tenant sprays heavy fabreeze or similar and odors are hidden for more than three days.
Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 1 month ago

I understand. But the problem is that if you didn't follow GA's law on these things, then if she were to go to court, a judge would probably award her the $ because the law requires that you inspect it within three days after they leave. It stinks and I'm sorry; however, the law requires this.

Ask Your Own Real Estate Law Question
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Good morning,
I hope our line is still open. We did do the walk through and I had no problem with any physical damage. We agreed on that.
After the house was closed for a week the pet aroma was quite apparent and at that time decided professional enzyme treatment was necessary. On initial meeting carpet fresh and vacuuming will mask that for several days.
There must be exceptions for the three day payment situation.Thomas
Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 1 month ago

I see what you mean. So, if you did the walk through within the three-day period, but you later found the issues with the pets after the fact, then the law would allow you to keep the deposit. There's nothing in the GA code that says that issues found after the fact cannot be deducted from the deposit. So long as you have some reasonable proof of doing so (e.g. if you had professional cleaners verify that this was the case, photos, videos, etc.) then you'll be fine.

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

Ask Your Own Real Estate Law Question
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Well this is my only issue right now. That is the thing about the leasing property/landlord position. It is subjective and I am required to make these decisions. I can't have a prospective client enter the premises for the first time and immediately say
"There was a dog (or dogs in this case) living in this house." Many are allergic and most of us just don't want that aroma around.
I just cannot believe that in Georgia the law has been written so that a tenant's pet deposit is untouchable if they can hide something for three days.
Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 1 month ago

I can understand your concern with this; however, in the interests of justice, I have reason to believe that if the tenant was hiding some defect from you like that, a court would likely not award the pet deposit back to the tenant.

Ask Your Own Real Estate Law Question
Was this answer helpful?
Ask Legal Eagle Your Own Question
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 10,172
10,172 Satisfied Customers
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court

Legal Eagle is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises!

Gary B.Edmond, OK

My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer.

EricRedwood City, CA

I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight.

MichaelWichita, KS

PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent.

Three H.Houston, TX

Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!!

ElaineAtlanta, GA

It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem.

TonyApopka, FL

Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help.

Mary C.Freshfield, Liverpool, UK

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

Tina

Tina

Lawyer

5,436 satisfied customers

17 years of legal experience including real estate law.

Barrister

Barrister

Lawyer

11,126 satisfied customers

17 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years

Infolawyer

Infolawyer

Lawyer

7,785 satisfied customers

Experienced lawyer

Ray

Ray

Lawyer

7,559 satisfied customers

Texas Attorney for 30 years dealing in real estate

LawTalk

LawTalk

Attorney

6,207 satisfied customers

I have 30 years legal experience. Additionally, in CA I held a Real Estate Broker's license.

Dimitry Esquire

Dimitry Esquire

Attorney

5,526 satisfied customers

JA Mentor, multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation & admin

Ely

Ely

Counselor at Law

4,925 satisfied customers

Qualified attorney in private practice including business, family, criminal, and real estate issues.

< Previous | Next >

Related Real Estate Law Questions
Here is my situation. I had a pet that was not on the lease.
Here is my situation . I had a pet that was not on the lease. I receive a letter to cease and desist . Remove the pet. Family came to visit about 4 mo later she brings pet for visit .maintence comes t… read more
LawGuy
LawGuy
Juris Doctor
123 satisfied customers
Is the land lord responsible for damage to a tenants car
is the land lord responsible for damage to a tenants car caused by bumper stops in the parking lot. the damage was caused by rebar not driven all the way in and left sticking up out of the bumper. … read more
Roger
Roger
Litigation Attorney
Doctoral Degree
26,928 satisfied customers
We had a water damage in our house and with the help of a
We had a water damage in our house and with the help of a public adjuster, we were given monies to do repairs to the house. Since I was told not to use any monies for anything other than repairs, we s… read more
Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq.
Attorney
JD
19,207 satisfied customers
I just read the post regarding pet kennels and HOA's I too
I just read the post regarding pet kennels and HOA's I too was denied to install a cage in my back yard for my 2 cats. We are not allowed to let them run free and must be on a leash My cats have never had a leash … read more
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle
Lawyer
10,172 satisfied customers
Do I have to show "damages" to file or for this action to be
Do I have to show "damages" to file or for this action to be successful. If so what constitutes "damage"?… read more
Barrister
Barrister
Lawyer
Doctoral Degree
11,126 satisfied customers
My daughter is renting in Seattle and had water damage in
My daughter is renting in Seattle and had water damage in her unit to the extent that walls and the kitchen cabinets were removed. Management moved her into another building, she continued to pay rent… read more
WiseOwl58
WiseOwl58
JD Honors Graduate
4,028 satisfied customers
Does a landlord have to furnish you with a proposed new
Does a landlord have to furnish you with a proposed new lease before I have to give 60 days notice. Second question does a landlord have the right to withhold rent history from another apartment compl… read more
Barrister
Barrister
Lawyer
Doctoral Degree
11,126 satisfied customers
Wind damage caused the root system of a tree to start
Wind damage caused the root system of a tree to start falling over towards my neighbors house. The tree is on our property. The neighbors had an estimate completed for emergency service. It says that … read more
LegalGems
LegalGems
Juris Doctorate
11,586 satisfied customers
Can we sue neighbors for emotional damages, defamation of
Can we sue neighbors for emotional damages, defamation of character and Loss of finances because of their loud noise? The downstairs neighbors are always screaming and yelling, cursing at their child,… read more
Gerald, Esq
Gerald, Esq
Juris Doctor
111 satisfied customers
I live in a manufactured home pet friendly Park in Highlands
I live in a manufactured home pet friendly Park in Highlands County Florida 6 months of the year. My indoor outdoor cat comes with me. One park owner has set traps for cats and calls Animal Control re… read more
PaulmoJD
PaulmoJD
Attorney At Law
Doctoral Degree
106 satisfied customers
Is it legal to charge a pet free with each yearly renewel of
Is it legal to charge a pet free with each yearly renewel of the lease? … read more
LawGuy
LawGuy
Juris Doctor
123 satisfied customers
My rental was heavily damaged by "occupant" in only 8
My rental was heavily damaged by "occupant" in only 8 months, but all rents have been paid. On 1/10/18 I was notified by lessee about abandonment. The lessee signed off supposedly funding to support t… read more
PaulmoJD
PaulmoJD
Attorney At Law
Doctoral Degree
106 satisfied customers
Our condo in Florida has a one pet 20 pound max rule.
Our condo in Florida has a one pet 20 pound max rule. Recently a couple purchased a condo in the building under the condition that they could have their tow 25 pound dogs. Does this set a precedence ?… read more
PaulmoJD
PaulmoJD
Attorney At Law
Doctoral Degree
106 satisfied customers
My apartment landlord wants to charge me a $500.00 pet
my apartment landlord wants to charge me a $500.00 pet deposit "again". I paid my deposit 3 years ago but there is no record of it. … read more
LegalKnowledge
LegalKnowledge
Juris Doctor
29,337 satisfied customers
Can i have a pet visit a non pet unit. Orange county, ca.
what type of paperwork? all i have is a copy of my original lease from 7 years ago … read more
LawGuy
LawGuy
Juris Doctor
123 satisfied customers
I signed a lease that says no pets. my cat is a registered
i signed a lease that says no pets. my cat is a registered support animal. I was not told of the no pets policy until I signed what are my rights … read more
Damien Bosco
Damien Bosco
4,144 satisfied customers
We are in contract, the buyers stated, "and furnishings".
We are in contract, the buyers stated, "and furnishings". But we never expected they would want all our furnishings and we had said there were things we were taking. What are we obligated to leave for… read more
LawGuy
LawGuy
Juris Doctor
123 satisfied customers
I have a landlord with a no pet policy but we have an
Hi, i have a landlord with a no pet policy but we have an emotional support animal, does the landlord have to waive his no pet clause to allow for the ESA pet? … read more
socrateaser
socrateaser
1,031 satisfied customers

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x