Can a landlord charge you to paint the ceiling?

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Can a landlord charge you to paint the ceiling?

We moved in and the heat went out so we had to buy a kerosene heater to keep us warm for 3 days until the oil people could come and give us heat. The heater left the ceiling with some off color spots. They charged $800 out our deposit and didn’t even paint it. 2 days after moving out they had their daughter move in but still charged us.

Asked on October 27, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Whether or not you are responsible for painting of your former rental is best addresses within the presumed written lease agreement that you had in that it sets forth the terms of your obligations to the landlord and vice versa in the absence of conflicting state law.

Custom and practice in the residential rental industry is that the tenant is not responsible for normal wear and tear. The painting of the ceiling that you write about appears to be the result of normal wear and tear to an extent and if not, the $800 charged for the painting that was not done from your security deposit is way too much and is an improper charge since the landlord did not even paint the former unit.

Your option is to bring a small claims court action against your former landlord for the return of your security deposit.

Good luck.


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