When you move out of an apartment, it's a good idea to do a walk through with the landlord to ensure that they agree that the apartment is in good condition and you have a record of their approval. Of course, the landlord will also take this opportunity to notify you of any problems and present you with a bill for alleged damages. Here's what you should do if they tell you the apartment is not in good condition when you move out.
Don't Agree to Make Repairs On Your Own
If the landlord tells you something needs to be fixed, you may be tempted to do it on your own to save money. This will almost always end up costing you more in the end.
First, if you do the walk through on the last day of your lease, you may be reentering the apartment after the end of your lease to do repairs. The landlord may try to charge you rent until the repairs are completed or even for another month.
Second, you have no guarantee the work will be up to the landlord's standards. They may say it has to be redone and charge you the full fee anyway even though you already spent time and money on an attempted fix.
Remember The Key Words: Reasonable Wear and Tear
You do not need to return an apartment in like new condition. The landlord cannot charge a tenant for reasonable wear and tear.
Reasonable wear and tear depends on the length of the tenancy and includes things like the carpet wearing down, walls needing touch up paint, and minor blemishes on appliances. It does not include things like big holes in the wall or carpet stains.
If damage falls into the category of reasonable wear and tear, the landlord is solely responsible for the cost of touching up the apartment for the next tenant. The tenant can remind the landlord of this and refuse to pay.
Fighting Unjustified Charges
A landlord will typically send a bill and threaten to file a lawsuit and negative credit report if the bill isn't paid. If you have photographs proving the apartment was in good condition, there's nothing they can do.
If they try to proceed with a claim against you without evidence, they will end up being responsible to pay your attorneys fees and possibly damages for violating unfair debt collection practices laws.
To get help with move out charges or other landlord tenant problems, contact a local attorney like Blake Law Office.