How do I proceed with getting my security deposit back from my previous landlord?

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How do I proceed with getting my security deposit back from my previous landlord?

We moved from our previous apartment on 2/28. I just received today the letter stating they were keeping my security deposit and want an additional $4099 in damages. We lived in the apartment for 3 years. They have charged us for things such as changing vents and lightbulbs, along with changing the carpet that we were told would be replaced due to it not being replaced when we moved in and there were stains and burns already in the carpet. What steps to I take now to dispute the charges and receive partial return of the deposit?

Asked on March 22, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If you believe that the landlord has improperly withheld your security deposit, you can sue them for its return; you can also defend yourself against their claim for additional damages. In terms of what you could legitimately be liable for--that is, what a landlord could take out of your security deposit:

1) You could be charged for any repair or replacement or extraordinary cleaning (getting pet urine stains out of carpet) caused by the actions of you, you family, your guests, contractors or workers you bring in, or pets.

2) If you owe any rent, that may be taken out of a security deposit.

You may not be charged, however, for ordinary wear and tear, such as replacing carpet that wore out over time (and not due to your actions) or lightbulbs that just blow out, as they periodically do. The landlord needs to be able to prove any thing it wants to charge you, such as with repair estimates, invoices, etc., and may only charge you the reasonable cost or price for repairs.


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