Can my former apartment charge me for replacing the carpet without providing pictures?

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Can my former apartment charge me for replacing the carpet without providing pictures?

I am just being told that I owe nearly $700 to replace the carpet in my apartment and that’s in addition to the security deposit. I received a “final bill” that simply had a run down of their assessment of all the rooms, they said “carpet trashed–pet damage”. I am willing to admit that there may have been some pet damage, I’m finding it hard to believe that the carpet was “trashed”. Can they charge me without sending pictures as proof? There is also a roommate situation and if it is only pet damage then I am responsible for the whole thing, but I need to see if there were other stains too.

Asked on October 15, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Legally, if the carpet was "trashed," you'd need to pay for it. However, you are not obligated to simply accept the landlord's description of the damages if you disagree. If you refuse to pay--or are trying to get back a security desposit which the landlord took for damages--you may end up in court, where each of you will have an opportunity to provide your evidence (if any) and testimony (including testimony of other witnesses who may have seen the carpet) to establish the extent of the damage. So you have to pay for whatever the damage is determined to be--but you can dispute the factual basis for that damage; and if you and the landlord cannot settle by working something out, ultimately, court is where you would resolve this sort of issue. It's probably in both your interest to work out something short of court, if possible, even if it means you paying more than you'd like, and the landlord accepting less than they want.


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