Can my former landlord charge me for cleaning the home and carpet cleaning after the magistrate in small claims deemed it normal wear and tear?

UPDATED: May 21, 2012

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Can my former landlord charge me for cleaning the home and carpet cleaning after the magistrate in small claims deemed it normal wear and tear?

I just went to small claims court with my previous landlord to win a judgment and receive money back that they wrongfully deducted from my security deposit such as cleaning for the next tenant and carpet steam cleaning (neither were part of the lease as requirements that the tenant needed to complete before leaving). The magistrate rewarded us the money back and now I have received a bill from the landlord for cleaning and carpet cleaning, even though it was clearly discussed in court that this was normal wear and tear and not damage. Can they charge me for this? What are my next legal steps?

Asked on May 21, 2012 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unless you went back in and did additional damage to the carpet after the judicial determination, the landlord may not charge you for these items--the magistrate's determination disposed of the landlord's claim for all wear and tear in this regard. You can contact the landlord to remind him of the judgment and that you do not owe the money (send him something in writing, some way you can prove delivery, with a copy of the judgment or court order attached); if he persists in trying to collect, you could bring another legal action to enforce the judgment and to potentially seek compensation for the landlord's harassment.

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