How can we prove that the landlord is covering up old stains?

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How can we prove that the landlord is covering up old stains?

The previous resident had a dog and a kid. The carpets were cleaned and given to us. When we moved in, the carpets were slightly discolored but nothing worth noting on our move in sheet. When we moved out, we were charged $573 for carpet replacement. Upon a walkthrough 2weeks after our move-out, we were informed that these were permanent pet stains. They accused us of taking in cats. We never had any pets. They’re refusing to believe the previous resident had a dog without telling them. We’re taking them to court. We have photographs during our stay but not at immediate move-in or move-out.

Asked on September 5, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

As a practical matter, you may not be able to prove that the stains were pre-existing:

1) You did not note anything on the move-in sheet, which creates a presumption that there were no stains, no damage, etc. The fact of signing a move-in sheet that does not state that there were stains means you agreed there were no stains, and it would be very difficult to overcome that.

2) Photographs that were not at the exact time of move in will carry little weight, since the stains could have come about after you moved in, but before the photos.

Given the cost of trying to fight or litigate this, and the lack of good evidence on your part, you may wish to consider paying the cost. Next time, note all stains or problems on the move-in sheet.


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