If my apartment was vandalized and the lease ends next week, am I legally responsible for the apartment?

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If my apartment was vandalized and the lease ends next week, am I legally responsible for the apartment?

I reported the vandelism to the police and they believe they know who did it. There are also witnesses. They sprayed the place with pepper spray. It will need an expensive restorative cleaning. I move out on Tuesday. The landlord says I’m responsible and they will put it on my bill even though it was vandalism. The police told me to leave it and that the landlord would have to seek restitution from the person that did it once they are prosecuted. Which is true?

Asked on July 27, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You are responsible for the damages that you did to the apartment over and above normal wear and tear.  If you were the victim of a burglary - and there could be a claim against the landlord for a breach of their obligation to keep you safe - then the courts will recognize it and rule accordingly.  I say this because he is not going to return your deposit under the time frame permitted by law and you are going to have to sue him.  So be prepared with pictures regarding the vandalism, with the police report and with a request in writing to do a walk through and your new address for the return of your security.  Send those requests by CMRRR.  Good luck. 


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