What to do about damages that my landlord wants to charge me for?

I gave my landlord a two month notice per my lease with this month’s rent. He insisted on an immediate walk-through, I know the apartment was clean other than packed boxes. He accepted my 2 month notice but now sent me an email stating that I owe him 5k in damages and asked how I’m going to take care of that. Also, said that I need to pay next month’s rent in full on time or he will lock me out and he wants me to leave on the 18th of next month. I admit, as the result of a candle exploding in my hand, there is wax on the living room carpet. However, when I moved in the screen door was ripped nd a receptacle was loose but he wants me to pay for repainting and recarpeting the entire apartment and for holes the last tenant left. What are my rights?

Asked on September 20, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

1) You do not have to move until the expiration of your lease, the end of the notice period which the landord accepted, or some other day the two of two mutually agreed upon--the landlord may not simply demand you move by a certain date other than those.

2) You may only be evicted for good cause, through the courts; the landlord can't simply evict you or lock you out if you are late on rent. He needs to take you to court to evict you.

3) You are legally responsible for any damage you did, or extraordinary cleaning (e.g. removing wax from carpet) that you require to be done--but not for anything done by prior tenants.


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