Can my landlord bill me for food odor removal?

UPDATED: Jan 13, 2011

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Can my landlord bill me for food odor removal?

We rented an apartment on 10/28/10. We vacated the apartment on 12/04/10 due job issues. We paid the rent and utilities for the stay, security deposit of $150, and settlement fees of $1910 (2 months rent) for breaking the lease. They deducted $95from the security deposit for food odor removal. Can they bill us for this? We stayed only for 1 month and we didn’t cook much; we were never billed for food odor by any of our previous landlords.

Asked on January 13, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Colorado


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

The issue is factual. That is, legally, if a tenant someone caused unusually strong, offensive, stubborn, persistent, etc. food odors, a landlord could likely charge for  the cleaning. Therefore, the issue is factually, did this happen?  You say you did not cook much, but theoretically, one particularly pungent dish could give rise to difficult-to-remove odors. The fact that other landlords may not have charged you for this is neither here nor there--it has no effect or impact. So the issue is two-fold: factually, do you think this happened; and practically, even if you disagree with the landlord, if he pushes for it, is it worth fighting over $95? Only you can decide the answers to those questions. Good luck.

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