What to do if my landlord is charging for damages beyond the security deposit?

My previous landlord wants to be reimbursed $478 for replacing the carpet in an 850 sq. ft. apartment I was leasing. The inspection report says “Carpet torn from dogs” – the carpet was in fact torn by a bedroom door and by the patio door but not too much and it appears they want to charge me for the whole apartment. There was never a final walk-through, during my lease the living room got flooded and the AC was constantly dripping on the carpet and it took long for them to fix AC every time. I had mold from refrigerator leak and I have pictures; and videos of coming to office.

Asked on November 2, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

A tenant only has to pay for damage done by him/her, or the tenant's family, pets, and guests, and not for damage caused byy wear and tear or faulty construction or maintenance by the landlord. If you disagree factually with the amounts being charged, you could sue the landlord (typically in small claims court), if you're trying to recover part of all of your security deposit; or if you simply don't want to pay more than the deposit, refuse to pay, then, if the landlord sues you--and he/she would have to sue to get his or her money; you don't have to turn more money over to the landlord just because he/she asks--you would defend yourself in court by disputing the landlord's factual assertions and providing your own evidence.

Sufficiently habitability problems, like the ones you describe, could potentially give you a right to recovery, but would have to be either asserted by you in a lawsuit against the landlord, or at least interposed as counterclaim against the landlord if your are sued.

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