What happens if I do not pay my landlord for damages beyond my security deposit?

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What happens if I do not pay my landlord for damages beyond my security deposit?

I moved out of my apartment last month, and received a bill for $900 – $800 for carpet replacement, $100 for water bill. I paid $500 pet deposit and $500 pet fee, yet the landlord wants me to pay an additional $400. They are saying the pet fee is for normal pet wear and tear and does not cover carpet stains. The way I look at it is that I gave them $1000 of additional monies for pets, which caused $800 in damages, how do I owe them more money? I am not asking for money back, I just do not want to pay $1400 total for $800 in pet damages. What happens if I ignore collection letters and not pay?

Asked on August 11, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

What is the additional $400 for?  What is the damage that your landlord is saying was caused by the pets?  Generally, security deposits can not be used for the "normal wear and tear" to an apartment that a tenant creates over the the course of the tenancy. No one expects that an apartment is pristine.  You lived there!  But, damage over and above the normal wear and tear is to be deducted from the security deposit.  Florida's law on security deposits is quite specific as to who has to do what and your rights.  Make sure that the landlord has complied fully. 

 See: http://www.rentlaw.com/dep/fldeposit.htm

Now, I see your point that the pet deposit was already used to pay for the damage.  But a pet deposit is to be in addition to your regular security deposit.  You need to have an itemized bill for the damage to see what is what and what the landlord is claiming.  Do not ignore the collections people.  If they go to court on the issue they can get legal fees and costs on top of the damages.  Seek help here.  Good luck.


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