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Old 12-28-2012, 09:58 AM
 
12 posts, read 89,167 times
Reputation: 12

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I moved out of my rental home on June 29th with some damages not taken care of. The landlords asked us in February if we would continue renting the house when our lease was up in June and we said yes. The end of May I received a letter from the landlord stating they no longer wanted us to rent while they showed the house. So I had a little over a month to pack up 13 rooms, find a new house and organize a yard sale all while working 60 hours a week! I had all intentions of fixing the items that needed it but with this being sprung on me at the last minute I didn't have time. The landlords finally sent me a list of damages on October 23 and we are scheduled for a civil action case. I admit I had some damages but not to the extent they are demanding. The are asking for full replacement costs of carpeting which I think is outrageous. What I have gathered from research is that the landlord was suppose to provide me a list of damages within 30 days of lease termination. I gave them my new address via facebook before I moved out so they could provide me with this. Also, I believe there is a useful life expectancy of carpeting and I shouldn't be made to pay for the whole entire placement of carpeting even though my dogs damaged some. We lived in the home for 3 years, it was empty for 4 and I don't know how long the landlords lived there. I believe the life of a carpet is 10 years and they need to prove when it was purchased and how much it was to determine how much I have to pay. I shouldn't have to pay for new carpeting is this correct? And if I am correct, even if there are damages they can't collect for them since they didn't give me the list within 30 days, right? Any help would be appreciated. And please don't go lecturing me on taking care of what I damaged because they received free weatherization in the entire house because of me qualifying for it. I believe this is the factor that determined if they would rent to us while showing or not since now they have the home listed for $15,000 more then before.
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Old 12-28-2012, 09:15 PM
 
13,255 posts, read 33,585,771 times
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Maybe this will help: Consumers: Protecting Consumers - Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General
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Old 12-30-2012, 08:27 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
1,304 posts, read 3,040,558 times
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I will try to answer your questions as well as I can, as both a landlord and as someone who has needed to go to court when a tenant has damaged my property. In the few instances that I took my former tenants to court, however, I was successful in winning my cases in all.

State law requires that a landlord return a tenant's security deposit (less damages documented on an itemized list) within 30 days of lease termination. Your post does not mention the security deposit- was your landlord holding yours? Did you leave a forwarding address with him/her? If not, he is only required to return your security deposit to your last known address- in your case was it his rental property? If I were in the same situation, I would send a registered letter to that address containing the security deposit and the itemized list of damages. If you did not get/ retrieve the letter, I would still have my documentation for court of my attempts to stay within the parameters of the law.

As for the carpeting damage, the courts generally rule upon the depreciated value. As a landlord, I always video record the entire property prior to the tenant moving in, and then, the date that they move out (generally I like for the tenant to be there for the move-out video record, but most decline). Most judges will review the paperwork, and if all is in proper order, arrive at a decision based upon the preponderance of the evidence shared- do you have any evidence to contradict what your former landlord will be showing?

Most tenants tend to underestimate the costs of doing repairs to the home that they are no longer residing. Prior to moving in, I give my tenants a list of typical charges of maintenance and repairs that seems to help them better understand the process. One other factor- the landlord and tenant must give each other written 30 day notice prior to the conclusion of the lease (be it written, or month-to-month)- was this done in your circumstance?
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Old 01-01-2013, 08:48 AM
 
Location: Arizona
6,131 posts, read 8,006,462 times
Reputation: 8272
You are correct that in PA the landlord should have notified you of damages within 30 days. You should be able to get the suit dismissed on those grounds, but you will need to contact the District Court ASAP and notify them that you intend to defend yourself, otherwise the landlord will win a default judgment. If he's seeking a large judgment and sued you in the Court of Common Pleas you may need an attorney.

Also, if he's holding any security deposit you have the right not only to have his suit dismissed but you can countersue for twice the amount being withheld. The caveat to that is that you were required to notify the landlord within 10 days of moving of your new address, and you need to be able to prove you did so. I don't know if the courts will accept notification by Facebook as sufficient. If I were in your shoes, I'd notify the court you intend to defend and file the counterclaim regardless. The possibility of losing twice your security may be enough leverage to get the landlord to agree to dismiss or otherwise settle with you.

Please note that I am not an attorney and this is a suggestion based on my own experiences as a tenant in PA. It should not be considered legal advice.
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Old 01-03-2013, 09:38 AM
 
12 posts, read 89,167 times
Reputation: 12
Thanks so much for all the information! Your help is greatly appreciated!

I did give my landlord my new moving address via facebook. I had my hearing a few days ago and gave the judge all my information. I had my entire facebook history with the landlord printed out, estimates from the same company that completed the new work in the landlords home, the landlord tenant act and the carpet life from the NBA. It seemed the judge did not want to hear what I had to say. I admitted to things being damaged but I disagreed on the price of the carpeting since they were charging me for the cost of the new carpeting without any usage deducted. And when I brought up the landlord tenant act and not being notified within 30 days of the end of my lease the judge stated that does not pertain to my case since there was damage done. She said that only applies if no damage is done. I don't believe that is how it is worded and that is not what I understood from other research I have done. But you can't argue with a judge.

I am not trying to screw the landlords but it appears they are allowed to screw me. The judge decided in favor of them and deducted about $100 for depreciation of the entire carpet total of $4500! This makes no sense to me! I asked for proof on the age of the carpeting in the house and the purchase price which I did not receive. The estimates that I received on new carpeting of the same type that was in the house when I lived there was about $2500 for the entire house. We lived there for 3 years so even with only 3 year depreciation it should be way less than $4500. I am shocked that the law allows a landlord to make a tenant purchase all new carpeting for the entire house!

I am able to appeal within 30 days but do you think it is a waste of time?
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Old 01-03-2013, 10:28 AM
 
Location: Arizona
6,131 posts, read 8,006,462 times
Reputation: 8272
It does not sound like a waste of time to me but you may need an attorney to help you. I agree with you regarding the 30 day issue, damage or not. When you appeal a district court ruling in the Court of Common Pleas its like the first hearing never happenned in that the entire case is heard again. One problem is you may have to post a bond based on the amount of the DJs ruling. If you hire an attorney and win you may be able to get your attorney fees paid by the landlord but if he wins he can probably do the same to you. I really think you should consult with an attorney ASAP.
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Old 04-03-2014, 06:07 AM
 
2 posts, read 6,705 times
Reputation: 12
Wow...there's a lot of variables in this one. Speaking as a Realtor and landlord did the owner respond to you on facebook acknowledging the new address? If not then it's your word against his. Any type of real estate transaction regardless of rental, sale etc should be done in writing and if no acknowledgement received then a phone call and another letter, email, etc. If no proper notice is received the landlord can easily claim the security.
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Old 04-03-2014, 06:57 AM
 
2,957 posts, read 5,918,809 times
Reputation: 2287
Quote:
Originally Posted by bahnstr View Post
Wow...there's a lot of variables in this one. Speaking as a Realtor and landlord did the owner respond to you on facebook acknowledging the new address? If not then it's your word against his. Any type of real estate transaction regardless of rental, sale etc should be done in writing and if no acknowledgement received then a phone call and another letter, email, etc. If no proper notice is received the landlord can easily claim the security.
Why would somebody need to respond to a Facebook message? It's just like email or regular mail. In fact, it's all time stamped and it's pretty easy to prove that the landlord actually used his Facebook after the message was sent to further prove the point.
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