What can I do to get back my security deposit?

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What can I do to get back my security deposit?

The cleaning people who inspected and earn $200 to clean the apartments. Is this not a conflict of interest considering they get paid to clean?

Asked on November 24, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Iowa

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The issue isn't whether there was a "conflict of interest"--the issue is whether or not you left the apartment dirtier, messier, etc. than normal "wear and tear" for the length of time you lived there. A landlord may not charge for normal, end-of-tenancy cleaning required by normal wear and tear; he or she may only charge his or her actual cost to clean unusual, excessive, or extraordinary problems, like pet urine or red wine stains, grease on kitchen walls and appliances, debris (such as old clothing, furniture, etc.) or gargage left abandoned in the rental unit, etc.

So if the unit required more than normal cleaning, the landlord may charge his or her cost to provide such; if it did not, the landlord may not charge for the normal end of lease cleaning. (One exception: the landlord may charge even for normal cleaning if a written lease specifically says he can.) If you feel the landlord is charging amounts he is not legally allowed to, you could sue him, such as in small claims court, where you could act as your own attorney, to recover the money.


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