What to do if we have surrendered a rental property and did a walk-through with the landlord who found no damage but is now trying to charge us?

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What to do if we have surrendered a rental property and did a walk-through with the landlord who found no damage but is now trying to charge us?

The landlord found no damage during the walk through. A day after the landlord is trying to take our security deposit for his sprinkler system. We were unaware of a sprinkler system, never shown how to maintain it, and it is not discussed in our lease. He is now claiming that if we would have told him when it got broken he would have fixed it, but no that we are out we are responsible to fix it. We are not sure when it got broken or if it was broken when we moved in.

Asked on October 2, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If a landlord discovers tenant-caused damage after a walk through, he can seek it from the tenants. Of course, the critical issue is whether it was tenant caused: you are only responsible for damage you (or your guests, pets, household members, etc.) caused. If you do not believe that you caused the alleged damage, then if the landlord takes money from  your security deposit, you could sue for its return; or if the landlord sue you for the money, you could defend yourselves from the claim in court. In either event, in litigation, he would have to prove that the damage exists and that it's more likely than not that you caused the damage to get the money.


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