Can a tenant deduct interior house paint if they refuse to submit original receipts and a cost breakdown to the landlord?

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Can a tenant deduct interior house paint if they refuse to submit original receipts and a cost breakdown to the landlord?

The tenant is also the property manager of our townhome. There is collusion with the painter and both refuse to provide original material receipts. Tenant prepared an invoice for the painter. The painter provided a handwritten detail proposal to my 2 neighbors. Tenant is to pay for the 3 bedrooms and the rest is landlord’s cost. When questioned, she produced a handwritten proposal with one line for $1,900, no detail breakdown.

Asked on October 7, 2010 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

First, the tenant can only deduct the cost of interior painting if there is an agreement with the landlord to do so, including a verbal agreement.

Second, if there is an agreement to allow the tenant to deduce the cost of paint or painting, she may...but if the landlord disputes the cost, the tenant will have to prove it. If the tenant cannot or will not prove the cost, such as with store receipts for paint, then ultimately, if the two parties (or any other parties, such as other tenants) involved will end up litigating if they cannot come to some mutually acceptable agreement or settlement. If it comes to that, the trier of fact (e.g. the judge, if the mattter  is brought  in small claims court) will evaluate the evidence and truthfulness to come to a determination of what the correct amount should be.


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