What to do if a landlord tries to charge you for damages that you were not responsible for?

My sister and I had an apartment that we rented. When we finished the lease and paid the last rent, we cleaned cleaned every thing (but my sister left a couple of things).  month later we got a $1700 bill. It stated that they had to replace the carpet and repaint the walls. The carpet was fine when we left. the only problem with the carpet is it had water damage from their air conditioning leaking. we had told them that it was leaking a lot and maintenance came and “fixed it”, it stopped for a week then started back leaking. There was nothing wrong with the walls. I don’t get why that is our responsibility for the carpet and the walls. The landlord even admitted that the carpet was damaged because of the A/C. He didn’t say anything about why they had to repaint the walls.

Asked on November 9, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Arizona


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you believe that you and your sister are being subject to a claim by your former landlord for damages as to the carpet and painting of the unit that has no basis, you need to do the following:

1. write the former landlord a letter in response setting forth your position for no liability with specific reasons. Keep a copy of the letter for future reference.

You need to be advised that claims by a former landlord for new carpet and painting are typical by landlords who lack ethics in my opinion. Normal wear and tear of an item through acceptable use does not need to be paid for by the tenant. Things simply depreciate. Much like driving a car over a period of ten years.

Replacement of carpets and painting a unit after a move out are typical expenses for the landlord. Landlords who charge for new carpet and painting and which are paid by the tenant typically pocket the money and never make the improvements to the rental from what I have seen.


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