What to do if we are having issues with our previous landlord charging ridiculously overpriced repairs and cleaning?

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What to do if we are having issues with our previous landlord charging ridiculously overpriced repairs and cleaning?

The charges equal less than $1,500 but that is a substantial amount to a household with one employed and two small children. Basically she wants to dissolve the deposit we put down and charge us an additional $700. I have attempted to dispute the charges with her to no avail and the capstone to this is that she got the statement to us postmarked 16 days after move out when the legal limit is 14 days. What should be done here?

Asked on October 1, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You can sue your landlord to recover any amounts that they improperly withheld in small claims court. The filing fees are low, you act as your own attorney and cases tend to move somewhat faster than say housing court. 

The fact is that a landlord may only charge a tenant the reasonable cost of repairs which are made necessary by damage which the tenant (or family, guests, pets, etc.) caused and which exceeds normal wear and tear for the amount of time they occupied the premises. 

Legally, not only can your landlord not charge you for normal wear and tear, they may not charge you for normal, end-of-tenancy cleaning and may not charge you for their or their staff's time (only for parts/supplies and outside contractors or labor). And while the landlord does not have to charge you the absolute lowest repair cost, they may not charge you an inflated costs or for unnecessary repairs.


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