What to do if I’m being wrongly charged for damages by my former landlord?

Recently I moved out of my apartment and left it spotless. Now I have a bill for over $4,000. They want the money in 6 days. They always went into my apartment without notice. I went to the hospital and came back with a note on my door saying that I have 3 days to get my apartment clean or they will evict me. I picked up and left that night. They waited for a month, did not do a walk-through with me, then charged me all these different charges. When I first moved in we did a walk-through and none of the things that were wrong with the apartment were fixed.

Asked on October 6, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Kansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If the say you owe them for damages and you believe that you did not, you shouldn't pay them--though it would be a good idea, for the record, to send them a letter, in some way which you prove delivery (e.g. fed ex; certified mail with return receipt; etc.) disputing the charges. The letter should be as specific as you can be, but stick purely to facts and be professional. If there are any charges you do agree that you should pay, you might want to offer to pay those in exchange for a release from any/all other liability.

If they still want to get the money from you, they can (1) take it from your security deposit, at least to the extent the deposit will cover it; and/or 2) sue you. If they sue you, they have to be able to prove that you owe the charges, at least by a preponderance of the evidence, and you have the chance in court to dispute their evidence and present evidence in your own favor. If they take the money from you deposit and you feel they were not entitled to, you have the option of suing them for the deposit's return.


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