What to do regarding a rental property if the owner charges you $2,000 for damages that you were not responsible for?

My aunt and I rented a rental property by the beach for a week. We cleaned up after ourselves before we left and made sure the house was tidy. About a week later my aunt received a credit card bill for $2,000 from the rental property owner. Then soon after the owner contacts my aunt saying we broke a railing (he is making it sound like we took a bat to it). I told my aunt to ask for them to send a picture of the damage to us. Is there any more legally that we can do?

Asked on July 16, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Wisconsin


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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The landlord has to prove his claim.  Did you take any pictures of the rental prioer to leaving to show it was in good condition or do a walk through with a represneativie of the landlord?  That would help.  Otherwise he is going to sue you in small claims court for the money.  It certainly sounds like a lot for the damage he claims.  You may want to start thinking about ways of defending yourself like when did you leave and when did he come to inspect?  Was there a gap in time when the property was vacant?  Could have it been vandalized?  Check police records for crime in the area.  Good luck.

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