Can a landlord refuse to do an move-out inspection?

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Can a landlord refuse to do an move-out inspection?

Prior to vacating my rented duplex, I made repeated attempts to request (via email), a walk-through inspection of the premises. I wanted to do this with either with the landlord or a representative of his choosing. He repeatedly refused. I left the unit in the condition it was in when I moved in; I took pictures and had professional steam-cleaning and maid service come in to make sure. The landlord then deducted from the security deposit $700 for “having to entirely replace” the downstairs carpet. Do I have any legal recourse?

Asked on December 22, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You legal recourse would be to sue the landlord for the return of the security deposit he--in your opinion--wrongfully withheld. At trial, you and the landlord both would have an opportunity to put in evidence as to both the state of the carpet (and therefore the necessity of replacing it) and also the cost to replace (i.e. even if the landlord showed that you damaged the carpet enough that it had to be replaced, he has to still  prove the cost, such as with invoices, to replace it--and can only deduct what it actually cost him, not  including his own time/labor). You could sue in small claims court to make it much more affordable. Remember: the landlord cannot charge a tenant for normal wear and tear, only for specific damage that tenant him or herself did (e.g. pet urine stains; red wine stains that won't come out; rips in carpet).


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