What Should You Do If Your Landlord Is Claiming False Damages

Landlord Protection What Should You Do If Your Landlord Is Claiming False Damages

5 Steps To Take If Your Landlord Is Claiming False Damages

Renting can be a great option for people who aren't ready to buy a house, or who don't want all of the responsibilities of home ownership, like dealing with maintenance and property taxes. Sometimes, renters luck out and get a great house with a great landlord. Other renters aren't so lucky, and end up with a difficult landlord. If your landlord is claiming false damages, you are probably frustrated, but fortunately, DoNotPay has a solution!

Security Deposits 

Security deposits are common practice for rental leases. If you have paid a security deposit, it is intended to be used to cover unpaid rent or to pay for damages when you evacuate the rental unit. If you leave in good standing, you should, in theory, have your security deposit returned. Some landlords, however, will try to claim damages so they can withhold some or all of your security deposit. Always read your state's landlord-tenant laws, because security deposits are often explicitly covered. 

Damage vs. Wear and Tear

It is important as a renter that you know the difference between wear and tear, and actual damage. It's also important for you to verify your state laws again. Many states have a variety of laws in place that protect renters' rights, and this may include statutes regarding wear and tear.

What is Wear and Tear?

Seven states have a specific definition of normal wear and tear, while others may still mention it in their statutes. Essentially, wear and tear is average deterioration that is caused by normal use, without negligence, accident, carelessness, or abuse. Wear and tear issues are caused by everyday living that you might see in any household. Examples of wear and tear could include:

  1. furniture indentations in carpet
  2. light thinning of carpet from foot traffic
  3. Dirt or loose grout around tiles
  4. wobbly toilet or loose toilet seat
  5. minor dings or scrapes on the wall
  6. faded paint, wallpaper or hardwood floors due to sunlight and age

Covering the cost of replacements and repairs due to wear and tear is typically considered the responsibility of the landlord. 

Damage to Property

Damage to property occurs due to abuse or negligence. It can refer to damage done by the tenant and/or their family, guests, or pets. Damages can include, but are not limited to:

  • heavily stained carpet
  • holes in the wall due to large nails, improperly hung items, poor drilling, etc.
  • pet damage (caused by chewing or scratching, or urine stains/odors)
  • burn patches or knife cuts on the countertops
  • broken window panes or ripped window screens
  • ripped door hinges, missing door handles or locks

State laws typically allow damages to be deducted from the security deposit.

How to Protect Yourself from your Landlord Claiming False Damages 

To avoid unnecessary issues with your landlord, you should be proactive and prepared.

Know your rights and obligationsMake sure you understand your state's Landlord-Tenant laws. Understand the terms of your lease before you sign. If anything is confusing,  reach out to a tenant advocacy group in your area to break it down for you.
Complete each walk-thru with your landlordMake sure you do an initial walk-thru, any periodic inspections, and a final walk-thru with your landlord or property manager. Some states require walk-thru inspections, and some require that a checklist be completed and signed. Take pictures and document anything that is discussed.
Be diligentWear and tear is expected, but be mindful of pets, when doing messy projects, etc. If there's a minor issue, repair it (within the terms of your lease) so it doesn't get worse or cause problems when you move out.
Ask for an itemized listIf your landlord is claiming damages, ask for an itemized repair/replacement list. You can make sure your landlord is not trying to upgrade fixtures at your expense, get you to pay for wear and tear, or try to get you to pay for issues that fall under warranty of habitability (since those repairs are the landlord's responsibility).
Seek legal adviceIf you believe your landlord is lying about damages, you may consult an attorney about your rights and laws regarding deposits. If you can prove the landlord is lying or the court finds a pattern of issues with this landlord, you may have an easier time suing your landlord.

Let DoNotPay Appeal Landlord's False Damage Claims on Your Behalf

If you know your rights under state law and within the terms of your lease and don't know  how to dispute landlord charges on your own, DoNotPay can get you started.

DoNotPay is here to guide you through the process and file your disputes on your behalf. Our Landlord Protection product can help you:

If you want to make an appeal for a landlord making false damage claims but don't know where to start, DoNotPay has you covered in 4 easy steps:

  1. Search for and open the Landlord Protection product on DoNotPay.

     

  2. Select which issue applies to you.

     

  3. Answer a simple set of questions so our chatbot can collect the necessary information to create your demand letter.

     

  4. Choose whether you want DoNotPay to send the demand letter to your landlord or roommate on your behalf. If you already tried sending a demand letter and it didn't work, we can help you start the small claims court process.

     

And that's it! You should hear back from your landlord directly once your demands are sent.

What Else Can DoNotPay Do?

DoNotPay wants to make renting less stressful for you, and our process is fast, easy and successful. 

However, we are also able to help you in many other ways, including:

DoNotPay is here to resolve issues, so let us help you today!

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