What are my rights if my landlord is overcharging to move-out expenses?

I moved out leaving the tiny studio as clean as can be. Now I am being charged $130 for carpet cleaning and $27 for cleaning that wasn’t necessary. This landlord wants me to sign a promisary note to make monthly payments that I cannot afford (I’m way below the poverty level recieving disability, and in a huge hole already. I don’t want to pay at all, because it is unfair. However, if I decide to make small payments ($10) every month, can this landlord send it to collections? What should I do?

Asked on June 22, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Arizona


Anne Brady / Law Office of Anne Brady

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you sign a promissory note and then miss payments under the note, of course the landlord could turn it over to a collection agent, although that seems unlikely given the small amount of money he is seeking.  It is hard to say whether you have an obligation to pay this money without seeing the terms of your lease agreement.  However, generally in Arizona, if a landlord wants a cleaning deposiit or fee, he charges it on the front end and then refunds it if no cleaning on move out is necessary.  It is unusual for a landlord to attempt to assess a cleaning fee on the back end.  But again, I would need to read the terms of your lease to know whether he can hold you responsible for the cost of clearning on move out.

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