What to do if our landlord is overcharging for damages?

I recently moved out of a rental house. The landlady sent me a certified letter that she is keeping the deposit due to water damage on the floor in the utiliy room. It was caused by placing a bathing suit on the utlily sink. We were unaware that the water softener drained into the sink and the swimsuit caused it to overflow. While I agree there is damge I disagree that the floor is ruined and that 2 rooms need replacement. We were sent an estimate but the landlady stated that they my replace it with a different material due to the original flooring being an inappropriate choice. Do we have a chance to get our deposit back?

Asked on September 13, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Michigan


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Generally speaking, a landlord can charge you for those damages that are over and above "normal wear and tear."  Although it may sound as if yes, your actions caused some damage it does not sound as if it were extensive enough to justify the repairs here, and justify she must.  If you ruined say a GE refirgerator it does not give her the right to replace it with a Sub Zero and charge it to you.  So challenge her and make her justify the money she has taken .  Good luck.  

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