Can an landlord give a deposit refund and then a monthiisue a bill for damages?

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Can an landlord give a deposit refund and then a monthiisue a bill for damages?

We moved out of our apartment on 06/31. We received a breakdown of our deposit signed by the property manager and a small refund 2 weeks after that. Now 6 weeks after our move out, and a month after receiving the check for our deposit, they’ve sent us an $800 bill for carpet replacement. It came with a copy of our move out inspection that has had spots whited out. It was originally signed by our landlord 1 day after our move out. Now it says M/O Revision in marker and has a stamp that says Received 08/12 by ___ and isn’t even signed.

Asked on August 19, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The focus here is the move out inspection form that has obviously been altered.  Was there another sent with the breakdown or did you get a signed copy mailed to you?  Those documents should be reviewed.  I think that you have a case against payment unless they can claim some latent defect or some problem that was not easily distinguished with the naked eye and came as a result of further inspection.  But I think that the odds are stacked in your favor.  They may sue you and they may report your failure to pay to whatever agencies that report that information to other landlords or realtors on a background check.  Beware: being right may be an uphill battle.  Good luck.


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