If I lived in an apartment and the landlord needed to do cleaning/repairs after I moved out, are they required to show me receipts for all charges that exceeded my cleaning/security deposit?

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If I lived in an apartment and the landlord needed to do cleaning/repairs after I moved out, are they required to show me receipts for all charges that exceeded my cleaning/security deposit?

Or are they allowed to arbitrarily charge me for other cleaning? Or perhaps better stated as this: Am I required to pay any and all amounts listed in the letter they sent or only the amounts they’ve provide receipts and given to me?

Asked on June 23, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Actually, the issue is not "receipts" unless there is litigation (e.g. you don't believe the landlord and sue for the return of some or all of your deposit). Rather the issue is that you may not be charged for normal, end of the lease cleaning and for repairs/maintenance required for normal "wear and tear" accrued over the course of however long your tenancy was. You may be charged to repair damages that exceed or are not normal wear and tear; and for cleaning that exceeds the normal "freshening up" a landlord would do at the end of one tenancy, before the start of another. For example, if you spilled red wine a carpet, you could be charged for professional stain removal/steam cleaning; if you left so much debris/garbage/etc. behind that the landlord hard hire clean-out service or rent a dumpster to haul it away, you could be charged for that. The landlord can take such non-wear-and-tear costs out of your security deposit. If the costs are less than the deposit, the balance should be returned to you; if the costs exceed the deposit, the landlord could try to sue you for the excess.


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