If my former landlord sent me a notice of claim against security deposit with many erroneous charges, how do I fight this?

Some of the charges I would be willing to pay and some I would not. For things like drip pans, a $100charge for cleaning (my father, myself, and friends cleaned it out and left everything in excellent condition), non-existent mildew, supposedly broken blinds – I was denied a final walk-through. Is there any leeway with that? Also, some of the charges are because of my dog -but my roommates’ cats were responsible (such as urine stains on a couch (I adopted my dog pre-potty trained!). She also charged me for late rent fees but I wasn’t notified until now; these I’d be willing to pay.

Asked on September 9, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You can tell your landlord that you dispute some of the claims. If the landlord and you can't then settle and the landlord keeps you whole security deposit (when you think you should get some back), you'd have to sue her to get it, just as, if you don't pay any additional amounts the landlord thinks you owe, she could sue you (in which case you'd be able to defend yourself against the claim).

Note that depending on how your lease was written, it may be that even if some of the damage is due to your roommate, the landlord can look to recover it all from you; you'd then sue the roommate for his or her contribution. This is actually common--the landlord can get damages from any tenant in the apartment, and the tenants then have to settle amongst themselves.


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