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

UPDATED: Oct 7, 2010

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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