How do I prove that supposed damage to a rental was not caused by me?

I am moving out of an apartment and they did a black light test. It showed urine from my dog and they said the carpet is destroyed. Would they have had to show us there were no stains when we moved in? They said it was new carpet but noone could document that new carpet was put in. They are now trying to charge me over my security deposit with an extra $500. Do I have to pay this?

Asked on November 10, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Missouri


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Whether or not you are obligated for the damage to the carpet depends upon the terms of the written lease (assuming you have one) in that it controls the obligations owed to you by the landlord and vice versa in the absence of conflicting state law. Read the lease carefully regarding your responsibility for you to the claimed damages.

If your former landlord will not return to you your security deposit, I would take him or her to small claims court for the amount. The landlord has the burden of proving your obligation for the damage claimed.

Many landlords claim carpet damage at the end of the lease with a tenant and charge the tenant for replacement but never replace the carpet. They simply keep the money. Good luck.

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