Is my landlord obligated to give me receipts for cleaning and or repairs?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is my landlord obligated to give me receipts for cleaning and or repairs?

I recently moved out of an apartment. On the last day, the landlord could return my deposit. I received an email stating that we owed for multiple cleaning charges and repairs. The email was accompanied with a list of typical cleaning charges and repair charges but they were average costs not actual receipts. I contacted the landlord and she said they use this list for the charges and would not release actual receipts. Is

this correct or is she obligated to show evidence of the actual charges not just charges from an average of the costs?

Asked on December 9, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The landlord is obligated to show you the actual receipts, because you are *not* liable for the "average" costs--only for the specific costs you caused. Furtherrmore, a landlord cannot recover the cost of ordinary end-of-tenancy cleaning, or for repairs or maintenance due to ordinary "wear and tear"--that's simply part of being a landlord, and is a cost of doing business. You are only liable for costs that exceed normal wear and tear: e.g. holes in walls; red wine stains on carpet, pet urine stains, or if your children drew on the walls; windows you, your family, or guests broke; etc. But if the unit needs to be repainted because it was last painted 10 years ago, or the sinks are dripping from regular use and a plumber is necessary, or the floors are scuffed from people walking on them, that is the landlord's cost, not yours.
If ou belieive that the landlord is charging you for things you are not liable for because they are normal wear and tear, or is overcharging you costs you would have to pay (i.e. charging you more than the actual cost to make the repair) and is therefore wrongfully withholding part or all of your security deposit, you could sue the landlord (such as in small claims court, acting as your own attorney, or "pro se," to save on legal fees) for the return of your deposit. In the course of that litigation, the landlord will have to prove the type, amount, source, and cost of the damage, and if he can't justify it, you can get money back.

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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