Can the apartment management company charge us for replacing carpet paddingand sealing the floor?

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Can the apartment management company charge us for replacing carpet paddingand sealing the floor?

We have a cat and we have lived in the apartment for 4 years. Upon move out, the complex advised us there is a cat urine “smell” (there is not and I’ve lived in other places with this same cat and have never had issues with the landlords over this) and they had to replace the carpet, padding and re-seal the floor. They are charging us $330 after we forced them to depreciate the value of the carpet as it was at least 4 years old, maybe more (they tried to us in charge full). I won’t pay this as the ceiling was leaking onto the carpet which also created damage. What can we do?

Asked on June 15, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First, be aware that the following does not matter:

1) That you never had issues  with previous landlords--that literally has no bearing whatsoever on this case;

2) That the ceiling also leaked--IF you car caused "damage" (a cat urine smell) which requires replacement, you may be charged for that cost, even if there was other damage from other causes as well.

In line with 2), what really is key is whether something you (or you cat) did required the repairs made; if so, it properly is something the landlord can look to recover from you. (Other damage *may,* depending on circumstances, provide a basis for reducing or discounting what you are charged--but is seems as if the landlord is doing that anyway.)

If you don't pay voluntarily, the landlord's options are to sue you, or, when you move out, to take the cost from your security deposit, which is something he or she can almost certainly do if he or she can document the damage and the cost to repair.

 


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