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Landlord security deposit return dispute

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Recently moved out of an apartment and the landlord didn't return a full refundable deposit back. Landlord claims they had to resurface an entire countertop over a minor burn mark, that was already there when I moved in. There also deducted cleaning charges despite me paying hundreds of dollars for professional cleaners to clean my empty apartment, plus a professional carpet cleaning company to clean the carpet. My deposit was $1000 and they took $150. Nothing specific in the account statement besides "minor cleaning and repairs"." How should I dispute this?

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They kept $150 or returned $150?

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jerosen said:   They kept $150 or returned $150?
  Kept $150

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bigdinkel said:   Recently moved out of an apartment and the landlord didn't return a full refundable deposit back. Landlord claims they had to resurface an entire countertop over a minor burn mark, that was already there when I moved in. There also deducted cleaning charges despite me paying hundreds of dollars for professional cleaners to clean my empty apartment, plus a professional carpet cleaning company to clean the carpet. My deposit was $1000 and they took $150. Nothing specific in the account statement besides "minor cleaning and repairs"." How should I dispute this?
  Show the move-in inspection report where you marked the pre=existing burn mark damage. You filled that in and kept a copy, right?
Same with bill from professional cleaner.

You should ideally have had this in hand when you did a final walk through. You did a walk through, right?

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In general, you should move on with your life. But if not, consider the age of the carpet: the LL may not be able to charge you for all the cost of replacing carpet if the carpet is old. Did the LL give you an itemized statement of the charges before a month had passed? does the LL have receipts for the expenses he claims?

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You signed a lease agreement correct? What does that say? Any mention about the carpet?
Either way LL kept $150 and refunded you $850, sounds fair to me - if - the apartment was super clean when you moved in & dirty when you moved out.

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fwuser12 said:   
bigdinkel said:   Recently moved out of an apartment and the landlord didn't return a full refundable deposit back. Landlord claims they had to resurface an entire countertop over a minor burn mark, that was already there when I moved in. There also deducted cleaning charges despite me paying hundreds of dollars for professional cleaners to clean my empty apartment, plus a professional carpet cleaning company to clean the carpet. My deposit was $1000 and they took $150. Nothing specific in the account statement besides "minor cleaning and repairs"." How should I dispute this?
  Show the move-in inspection report where you marked the pre=existing burn mark damage. You filled that in and kept a copy, right?
Same with bill from professional cleaner.

You should ideally have had this in hand when you did a final walk through. You did a walk through, right?

  Sorry I forgot to mention this important piece. I requested a move out inspection, however there was only one person who conducts the move out inspection and he refused to have it done on the weekend of my move. I asked for an alternate and I was told no.

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I had similar experience - also cleaned prior to move-out and landlord deducted cleaning fee from security deposit. Your move-out inspection experience also is very similar to what happened in my case.
In the end I decided it's not worth my time to sue in small claims...

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Learn your state's landlord-tenant laws. CA is pretty strict in general, and a landlord is required to do a move-out inspection if they want to withhold anything from the security deposit. Plus there's something about treble damages when security deposit isn't refunded on time (within 21 days IIRC).

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What state are you in?

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How many hours of work are you willing to put into this to get back the $150?

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Do you live in a triple damages state? If so, and the landlord doesn't follow the law, you are entitled to at least $450, and likely your attorney fees + court costs. You didn't mention your state, so any advice here will be limited.

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If your landlord returned $850 of a $1000 deposit to you, you just won the lottery.

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ledwards said:   If your landlord returned $850 of a $1000 deposit to you, you just won the lottery.
  
Its not really that unusual to get the full deposit back if there aren't damages.

We aren't all crooks.

 

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ledwards said:   If your landlord returned $850 of a $1000 deposit to you, you just won the lottery.Are you implying that the jackpot is the $850 he received or the $450 he still might?

If he lived in CA and got $0 of a $1000 deposit, that would be winning the lottery.

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speedracer714 said:   How many hours of work are you willing to put into this to get back the $150?
  I think sending an attachment with the receipts of the carpet and house cleaners will be enough to dispute their "minor cleaning and repairs."

It's just annoying that you pay a lot for a move out cleaning by professionals and they're trying to screw you out of something.

   

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bigdinkel said:   
speedracer714 said:   How many hours of work are you willing to put into this to get back the $150?
  I think sending an attachment with the receipts of the carpet and house cleaners will be enough to dispute their "minor cleaning and repairs."

   

  

Thats a good first step.   But its not very likely they'll reply with a check to return the $150.

Then you'll have to sue.
 

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jerosen said:   
bigdinkel said:   
speedracer714 said:   How many hours of work are you willing to put into this to get back the $150?
  I think sending an attachment with the receipts of the carpet and house cleaners will be enough to dispute their "minor cleaning and repairs."

   

  

Thats a good first step.   But its not very likely they'll reply with a check to return the $150.

Then you'll have to sue.

  
Depends on if OP has photos after the cleaners were done.

I've seen "professionally cleaned" units (receipts and all) that are not acceptable and I still needed to hire my regular turnover cleaners.  Many cleaning services that don't specialize in turnovers forget to get the highs and lows.  They miss dirt/dust on baseboards, they leave dirt in the window/sliding door tracks, they miss dust/cobwebs in the ceiling corners.

Same goes for carpet cleaning.  A lot of tenants will opt for a basic carpet clean, but not have the cleaners do specific spot treatment.  It can look fine immediately after, but the next day the stains are clear as day.

I always recommend that tenants just get their stuff out, resolve damage items like big holes (or be ok with the LL charges for such), empty trash, and leave cleaning issues for the LL to vend out.  If LL has receipts (required in CA), they have nothing to gain by hiring an unnecessary cleaning crew.

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speedracer714 said:   How many hours of work are you willing to put into this to get back the $150?
Exactly this. In my case it was also about $100-ish withheld. Of course I had the photos and everything, would have been a slam dunk case.

But then I wasted more time than worth it just trying to find *who* to sue. Decided my time was not worth it to actually sue. Didn't even write demand letter.

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