If I’m being charged for an entire laminate wood floor replacement upon move out because the floors are buckling, what to do?

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If I’m being charged for an entire laminate wood floor replacement upon move out because the floors are buckling, what to do?

I am being charged for an entire laminate wood floor replacement upon move out. I was billed because the company claimed that the entire floor had to be replaced due to water damaged. I am wrongfully billed because I have never caused that water damaged. I moved into a new unit at the same complex and the floors appear to have the same problem-they call it “buckling” when the edges of the laminate wood floors are lifting a little bit. It is unnoticeable, unless you kneel to the ground and look at the floors from an angle. I am being billed $2,000 for the replacement.

Asked on August 29, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Legally, if you caused damage requiring repair or replacement, you can be charged for it. The issue then is whether or not you did that damage. If you feel you did not, you can either refuse to pay, forcing the landlord to sue you  if he wants the money (he'll have to prove in court, by a preponderance of the evidence or that it is "more likely than not," that you caused the damage and the cost to fix it); or if the landlord took money out of your security deposit, you could sue him for its return.


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