Can a landlord charge me 1/3 more than I paid in rent to clean after I moved out?

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Can a landlord charge me 1/3 more than I paid in rent to clean after I moved out?

I had a 6 month lease; I lived there for 18 months. We never renewed our lease and he stopped giving me receipts after 4 months. He’s charging me 300$ for paint thinner! My deposit was only $200. He’s also charging me $40 for light fixtures and bulbs. When I moved in there where no light bulbs and only 1 fixture. I left several bulbs but I took my energy saving bulbs. I left the place cleaner than it was when we moved in? Is it legal for him to do this?

Asked on September 22, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New Mexico

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you have a written lease concerning the unit that you were renting, you need to carefully read it in that its terms and conditions control the obligations owed to you and vice versa in the absence of conflicting state law.

There should be a provision in the written lease regarding use of your security depoait and charges against it as well as other matters.

In most states in this country, when a tenant moves out, the landlord has a certain period of time to return the security deposit (21 to 45 days usually). If the full security deposit is not returned in this time period, the landlord must in this time period send all unused security deposit money along with an itemization for what money was used with receipts to the former tenant.

It appears that the landlord is taking advantage of you from what you have written. I would write him or her a letter regarding this asking for the full return of your security deposit by a certain date. If not given, your option is small claims court. Good luck.


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