Is it legal for my landlord to have repairs performed without notifying me first?

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Is it legal for my landlord to have repairs performed without notifying me first?

I recently moved out of an apartment and the landlord had the carpet replaced without telling me it would need to be replaced. They are demanding I pay them a ridiculous fee in the next 21 days. I have 3 weeks to come up with the money or else they will send it to a collection agency. I don’t want my credit score affected and I’m okay that they replaced the carped but I was never given any notice that it would have to be replaced; I could easily afford it if I had 30 days to pay it.

Asked on April 29, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

Kenneth Berger / Kenneth A. Berger, Attorney at Law

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In Washington, under the Residential Landlord Tenant Act (RTLA) the landlord must give you a special notice in writing within 14 days of a tenant vacating regarding withholding of any damage deposit (why, how much, and return of the balance).  Washington is a strong tenant rights state and in the absence of the landlord issuing a timely notice, they can lose their rights to recover for alledged damages done to the apartment.

Regardless, you may want to "negotiate" with the landlord and see if a compromise could be worked out.

As always, my comments are only applicable to Washington State and are not a substitute for getting competent, local, and more comprehensive, legal help.

 

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Since you moved out of the apartment, you are no longer a tenant and the landlord has the right to enter without notice and make necessary repairs.  If you were still renting the place, the landlord would have to give you notice before entering to replace the carpet.

If the carpet is worn due to normal wear and tear, you are not liable for that.  If you damaged the carpet, your security deposit should be used by the landlord for the cost to repair the damage or replace the carpet.  The landlord has to mitigate (minimize) damages (the amount the landlord is claiming you owe).  If the landlord has failed to mitigate damages, the landlord's damages will be reduced accordingly if you were to file a lawsuit against the landlord and prevail.


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