Is it there any action I can take for being charged in clean up fees after apt lease?

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Is it there any action I can take for being charged in clean up fees after apt lease?

I previously lived in an apartment with roommates that charged us 420
at the end of the lease. The charges were 120 for light cleaning, 170
for Wall painting, and 130 for carpet cleaning. Ou deposit was 312. 25
so we had to pay 107.75 more. This is ridiculous because first of all,
we never step on the carpet with shoes and we didn’t do anything to the
wall. Everything looks like how it was when we first live there. We even
cleaned the whole apartment and they still charge light cleaning of 120.
If they are charging us this much then how much more clean did we have
to be to not get charged. Also, they have been renovating their
apartments ie. Changing to wood floor and new interior. I feel like they
are using us to help pay for their construction. Is there any action I
can take here Thank you.

Asked on July 12, 2016 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

A landlord may not charge for any cleaning or repainting which is required by normal "wear and tear"--only for damage or stains which were caused by the tenant (or the tenant's family, friends, guests, pets, etc.) and which are not normal wear and tear. Therefore, if there was no damage and the apartment was clean, the landlord's charges may well have been improper: you could sue the landlord (e.g. in small claims court, acting as your own attorney, or "pro se," to save legal fees) to recover your security deposit and any other improperly charged amounts.


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