Move out and Settlement

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Move out and Settlement

We have recently moved out of a property that we rented for five years. The
landlord has now sent us a, ‘Move Out and Settlement Statement’ listing his
claim to the entire security deposit 2,595 plus an additional 6K of claims for
repairs etc. I believe that he is trying to take advantage. Any wear and tear to the
property was, in my opinion, reasonable use and may of the things he mentioned
were old/damaged when we moved in i.e. he wants us to pay for all new
carpets, but they were already old when we moved in. The landlord says that we
have 15 days to respond in writing according to Section 83.49 3 of the Florida
Statutes or accept this settlement by default. I need to know how we should
respond.

Asked on July 15, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you disagree and feel that you did not do damage exceeding normal "wear and tear," send him a written response, challenging his assertions in detail (e.g. line by line), and stating what you believe you should get back. Send it some way or ways you can prove delivery, like certified mail or fed ex.
After that, if he sues you (e.g. for the additional $6k), you can not only defend against that claim in court, but you can countersue for the return of all or part of your deposit. Or if he does not sue you for the extra money, you could sue him for the deposit's return. To successfully defend a lawsuit and/or sue for you money, you will need to show that you did not do the asserted damage, and/or that the "damage" was due to age and wear-and-tear, and/or show that the damage or conditions existed when you moved in. You can do this by photographs (if you have any) and witness testimony (e.g. of you family and friends and anyone else personally familiar with the propery's condition). The landlord can present his evidence to try to show you did cause damage, and the court will decide who is right.


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