What to do if a landlord is not showing good faith and choosing a more expensive quote for a damage estimate?

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What to do if a landlord is not showing good faith and choosing a more expensive quote for a damage estimate?

There was a scratch on the marble floor of our rental and a contractor gave us a quote of $150 to fix it. The landlord wants it done this Saturday but the contractor told her he couldn’t because he had a camping trip planned. However he did say that he was available weekdays. She asked him how much she has to pay for him to miss his camping trip and he said $300. Since the scratch was not noted in the move-in checklist, we may be on the hook to pay for it. We offered to get the key from her and let the contractor in on Thursday but she refused. Can we go to court to make her pay the difference?

Asked on June 24, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It is very unlikely that the landlord can force you to pay an extra $150 or $300 (it's not clear from your question whether that's $300 total or $300 extra) simply because she'd like the repair done on Saturday. A landlord doesn't need to take the cheapest quote, but needs to take a reasonable one and get the work done in a reasonable way; paying a substantial premium to get the work done on a specific day is not reasonable. That means that you would likely have grounds to sue the landlord to recover the difference; however, since even small claims court has some filing fees and will take time, you should ask yourself how much is it worth to you to recover that money. Perhaps you can settle with the landlord for something mutually acceptable.


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