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2 Bumps

Civil court

we moved out of a rental house. the landlords came after us for "damage" to the property. the judge said we could ask questions and then kept cutting us off. we asked for pictures of the damage and they didnt have any. we took pictures of the property ourselves the day we left and we ask permission to share those. the judge didnt even look at all of them. we tried specifically showing pictures of the bathrooms and kitchen where all this "damage" was and he looked at it and said well i dont see anything in the pictures but i dont know. then the landlord said it looked like we didnt clean the whole time we lived there. i scoured that house the day we left. moping cleaning everything with bleach soap and water. i thought taking pictures would prove that. however the judge said he was awarding the damage amounts to the landlord because we left before our lease was up and we should be happy they are not asking for all of that money. the landlords said they were ok with us leaving and i dont understand what a damage deposit has to do with that. i dont know what to do. in order to appeal we have to pay another 250 dollars or we are stuck paying the awarded amount. do we have any other options? how would you handle this? how can we have proof and the landlord just claiming other wise and get screwed like this. we dont need thisright now we already have enough on our plate. im so sick to my stomach that the court system can be so crooked.

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Asked by Anonymous at 2:34 PM on Jul. 12, 2013 in Money & Work

Answers (7)
  • We were forced to pay to replace the carpet on an apartment we lived in. We stayed out our entire lease and the complex was conveniently replacing ALL the carpets in the whole complex at the time. We left no damage, all the unit around us had been replaced in the weeks before we moved out and we didn't think anything of it. They weren't able to show proof of any damage (because there wasn't any) and they had even gave us back our deposit.

    Answer by slw123 at 2:44 PM on Jul. 12, 2013

  • Next time get the leaving early in writing and go thru the apartment with the landlord having them sign a paper saying everything was in good order. Comes down to he said she said and unfortunately the land lord will win the majority of the time. If it's not a large amount I'd go ahead and pay up or at least make payments (keeping copies of the checks) just to get it over with.

    Answer by baconbits at 3:01 PM on Jul. 12, 2013

  • I'm sorry to say, but I would suggest just paying it. If you left before your lease was up, you could be forced to pay the money for each month that you were supposed to be there plus lose your security deposit. I would make arrangements to make payments and keep records of that. On the final check, make sure to write "paid in full". Landlords can be pricks sometimes. I'm sorry you had to deal with that.
    I was moving out of an apt yrs ago and someone had vandalized it. They tried making me pay the damages but I was able to show proof that I was hospitalized when the damage occurred. I called a month later to get my security deposit and was told they had no record of me ever living there. Guess I ended up paying those damages after all.

    Answer by tempsingl3mom at 6:40 PM on Jul. 12, 2013

  • You had a verbal understanding with the landlord about leaving early, but it doesn't mean he wasn't going to stick you with a penalty. You should've gotten it in writing that he was okay with leaving the lease early and wouldn't charge a penalty. Every rental I've lived in does this if you ask them to. Make sure you are there for the exit inspection and that you both agree and sign to the same observations of the property status. You might even bring a friend as a witness. The landlord might know the laws a bit better for your area, so maybe that's why the pics didn't work in court (they should've though). Many landlords know the tricks and use the system as a way to get extra income though. They know it'll cost more to go to court for you. It's important to have a trustworthy landlord in the future. It's not worth the hassle & I would just let it go. Look into prepaid legal services for protection in the future as well.

    Answer by hellokittykat at 2:26 AM on Jul. 13, 2013

  • ^^^^^Exactly

    Answer by Michigan-Mom74 at 2:28 AM on Jul. 13, 2013

  • No offense, but this is why I prefer to own rather than rent. All that money might as well go toward something that's mine. Yes it sucks when things break or need replaced, but at least you won't have to deal with crooked shisters like that. Please tell me your next place is yours or at least on land contract, so it will someday be yours.

    As to the landlord issue, if there's ever a next time. please get legal counsel to go with you to court. Or at least advise you of what to expect prior to going to court. Lady Justice may be blind, but she seems to like money!

    Answer by mrsmom110 at 1:15 PM on Jul. 13, 2013

  • If you'd had to pay the remainder of the lease, what would it have been? Would it have been more or less than the damage amount? Go for the lesser of the two expenses because you will wind up paying something.

    I remember we actually walked away from a big security deposit once when we left a townhouse we were renting. The landlord was big on lawsuits, and we didn't want to deal with him. So we moved with no forwarding address and left the deposit with him.

    Answer by gdiamante at 1:46 PM on Jul. 13, 2013

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