Topic: Landlord charged for painting – can we win in court?
Landlord charged for painting – can we win in court?
I’m hoping someone who went through a similar situation might be able to offer advice or share their experience. Do we have a good chance of winning our case in small claims?
We moved out of our apartment in the middle of August. It was a 1BD/1BA condo, and we had lived there for 20 months. The people we hired to clean the place did a super awesome job, and we left everything in great condition. We had a pretty quick turn around between the moving, cleaning, and walk through because our landlord is currently living in another country, and he was back in the US for a limited time, during which he wanted to do the key exchange. So we didn’t have any time to do additional work, if the landlord pointed anything out.
We did the walk through, and the only things that my landlord pointed out were that there was a bit of pink mildew in the tub grout (like maybe an inch) and there were a couple places where the wall was scuffed; one in the closet and one in the hallway (and possibly the living room). These scuffs were pretty minor. The landlord pointed them out, said something along the lines of, “I’m not sure if I’m going to have to paint that.” Did not directly say he was going to charge us for anything. For what it’s worth, the apartment was NOT freshly painted when we moved in.
Forty four days later, he sent us an email saying that he needed to paint the apartment, and that it cost him $1000, but he was only going to charge us $500 because he realized that they had a part to play in keeping up the apartment. This was the cost for painting the entire apartment, not just the scuffs (we confirmed this with him). We’re pretty sure that for the condition of the apartment when we moved in and the length of time that we were there, that these scuffs would constitute normal wear and tear. On top of that, the landlord did not send us an itemized receipt, nor did he send us the interest on the deposit (both of which by our lease and the law he is required to do).
We’re still doing some research on how exactly small claims will work with an out of country landlord (will he get served overseas??), but we plan on taking legal action if they do not agree to give us our money back. However, I would like to know if others have had to fight for their security deposit after being charged for painting? Did you win? The regulations are a little murky on where painting falls. We don’t want to go in with a case on shaky legal ground, then have to pay for his (likely hefty) plane fare if he counter-sues.