How do I respond to a landlord is suing for property damages if I wasn’t at the final walk-through?

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How do I respond to a landlord is suing for property damages if I wasn’t at the final walk-through?

I rented for 3 years, provided 30 days notice that we were moving but wasn’t allowed present at the final inspection. After we moved, I received letter stating we owed $1700 for damages, total of $2500, less our $800 deposit. Landlord claims damage to hardwood floors. I wrote back asking for proof of these damages, pictures, paid receipts, etc. Landlord wrote back saying basically the same thing and sent a copy of an estimate to refinish the floors, no pics or paid receipts. Yesterday I received court papers stating they filed for the damages. I don’t think there was any damage. What do I do?

Asked on March 22, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Ohio

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Since you were not at the final walk through you are in a difficult position to demonstrate that you are not responsible for the damages to the former rental unless you have in your possession the intial walk through documentation whan you rented the unit. Possibly the initial walk though documentation will reference the damages claimed against you.

One possible defense as to the floor condition is to assert that any such damage is due to the normal wear and tear on the floors. After all, things have a tendency to wear out through use. You need to file an answer to the complaint recently served on you or risk a default being entered.


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