Should I take my previous landlord to court due to deductions that she’s made from my security deposit?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Should I take my previous landlord to court due to deductions that she’s made from my security deposit?

My security deposit was $1,000 from which she deducted all of it, plus $167 (painting, carpet cleaning, waterbill, late rent fees and a few minor fees). I disputed about half of the deductions in writing. She responded with a new list of deductions. She added more to the late rent fees and forgot to add the painting. She stated that I now owe her an additional $267. Her hot buttons are the waterbill (which now has a 10% late fee) and the carpet cleaning. Can she add addtional fees after the 28 days? Can you recommend an attorney?

Asked on October 29, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

A landlord may add new charges if they only come to light after the fact--for example, if she discovers additional damage to a rental unit, which had not been obvious (or whose extent or cost to repair was not clear) earlier. However, all charges, whether added at the outset or later, have to be substantiated, both as to their existence and as to their cost. Also, a landlord may only deduct for certain things: unpaid rent or utility bills; late fees or interest if the lease authorizes them; repairs, or cleaning or painting, if such is required by damage or stains which exceed normal wear and tear (i.e. the regular, end of tenancy, before the next tenant moves in cleaning or painting should not be charged to a tenant).

If you believe the landlord is charging you for normal wear and tear, is charging you when there is no damage or is charging excessive amounts (beyond actual out-of-pocket costs), or is charging you fees not authorized by your lease, then yes--you may wish to take legal action to recover some or all of your security deposit.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption