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Old 10-18-2015, 11:52 PM
 
1 posts, read 732 times
Reputation: 10

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This is in California.

This is a corporate, big name landlord. We lived in the unit for 2 years. When we moved in, they were running a $99 deposit "deal" for potential tenants with good credit. We qualified, and that was our security deposit. When we moved in, we confirmed from the leasing agent that the carpet was not new, nor were any of the appliances in the Unit. She would not tell us exactly when the carpet was put in, or when the appliances were purchased. But we know for a fact - as she had already let that out - that nothing was "new".

We moved out two weeks ago and recently received a statement that charges a LOT MORE than our paltry $99 security deposit - a whooping $680. They are claiming that the entire living room carpet needs to be replaced due to "stains", and the charge for that alone is put at around $400 !!! When I called to talk to the leasing office, and asked about prorating the charges based on the age of the carpet, they claimed that the carpet was installed NEW for us (an outright lie). So I demanded to see a copy of their purchase and did not get a straight answer, the agent wanted to "talk to the manager who is not in today". There are also $$$ being charged for repairs done during our stay - for instance, our dishwasher wouldn't close one day and a part needed to be replaced. We are now being charged for that as "it was a new dishwasher and the part needed to be replaced prematurely". Nothing about paying for that part was mentioned WHEN it was replaced - can they charge after the fact ? Secondly, again, the leasing agent had already told us that nothing was new when we moved in - at least one other short-term tenant had lived in the unit after the appliances and carpets were installed.

Plus, we are being charged to repaint the unit. There was nothing wrong with the paints when we moved out (we have date / time-stamped pictures as proof).

Is there anything we can do about this ? We have photos and videos to prove that there is NO WAY we would owe close to $700 of damages. Please help ?

Thanks.
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Old 10-19-2015, 03:20 AM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ area
3,340 posts, read 4,219,817 times
Reputation: 4135
Carpet prorating is at the time of replacement not the time you took possession so every rental has to prorate carpet. The minimum they have to prorate is the 2 years you occupied the unit. The dishwasher damage may be chargeable it depends on why, neglect or damage on your part they would need to prove. Look up your deposit laws and figure out what your next step should be and the time you are given to dispute charges then send a demand letter stating that you agree to pay X amount once you receive a corrected bill or you will see them in court.
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Old 10-19-2015, 05:21 AM
 
3,463 posts, read 3,798,618 times
Reputation: 4017
This should help:
California Tenants - California Department of Consumer Affairs
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Old 10-19-2015, 10:54 AM
 
Location: Black Hammock Island
4,620 posts, read 13,857,459 times
Reputation: 4588
Tenant007 - whatever you decide to do, one of the choices cannot be to just ignore it and think it will go away with a simple notarized letter stating your case even if you have the documentation to prove your side. Corporate landlords have deeper pockets and would rather push an issue until it ends in collection, being perfectly happy to get ten cents on their dollar.

I would be proactive and continue to demand proof of their claim. Make sure you do this in writing through the mail requiring a signature of receipt. Time is of the essence (the time frame as AZ Manager mentioned will be found in your lease documents). Be prepared to take this to small claims court.

However, you may not be in luck with this if you do not have it in writing from the landlord, nor have any other kind of solid proof, that the carpet and appliances were not new when you moved in. Hopefully the apartment complex does not have it on paper that its policy is to have fresh paint and carpet for each new tenant. Even if they didn't follow their own policy with you, that so-called policy in writing has a bit more weight than a conversation you had with the leasing agent two years ago. As well, if there was no end-of-lease walk-through with the landlord and you don't have that inspection in written form, it can become a he-said-she-said.

So, build yourself a rock-solid case and don't wait too long before heading to court to end it.

I learned this lesson the hard way, and I now wish I had done things differently.
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Old 10-19-2015, 11:06 AM
 
Location: North Idaho
27,757 posts, read 37,507,033 times
Reputation: 60297
The bad news first: If you do damage beyond what is covered by your deposit, you still have to pay for it. Just because your deposit was $99 does not mean that you can't be billed for more than $99 in damages.

Yes, you can be billed for the dishwasher if something you did broke it. Not if it was a manufacturers defect. Parts and repairs get charged at full price. They are not prorated like a replacement would be. If the door wouldn't close, the only thing that causes that is placing too much weight on the door, so you will have a hard time proving you didn't cause the part failure.

If you think the charges are unfair, you can take the management company to small claims court. They will then present their proof that the charges were justified and you will present all your proof that the apartment was left in clean and excellent condition when you moved out. The judge will decide.

$400 for living room carpet depends upon what the damage was. That might be the prorated amount if it was necessary to replace carpet, pad, and seal the subfloor. That might be a bit much if all the damage was red stains that wouldn't come out. Subfloor would not have to be sealed for that.

Paint depends upon how many pictures you hung. Repairing holes makes a place that has to be painted and sometimes it is impossible to match the paint, so a whole wall needs to be painted. I didn't see your unit when you moved out, so I can't tell whether or not the charge was fair.

Take it up with management and if they won't adjust the charges, go to small claims court and take all of your proof with you. The judge will decide who pays.
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