Anyone have suggestions for dealing with a landlord trying to rip me off?
About 2 months ago I moved out of an apartment I lived in for 20+ months. Yesterday I got the final bill/deposit paper from the landlord (a new management company that took over the property roughly 2 months before I moved out). Not only am I apparently not getting back any of my deposit (one months rent), but they’re trying to charge me $1200 to replace the carpet, pad, etc. They claimed it was damaged/smelled of dog urine.
Now I do have a dog (and a cat) and there were several accidents over the time I lived there. But nothing that I suspect a carpet cleaner wouldn’t have been able to get out. For reference/example, I’ve lived in 6 places prior to this with my dog, and in at least two he did far worse damage… not once did they try to replace the entire carpet and bill me that much money. In fact the one time they did replace carpet in one room (an un-dog-related reason), the bill ended up being a few hundred dollars (and that one room was probably half the size of my entire apartment here).
Furthermore, the carpet was not new when I moved in. It had a few years in it, minimum. It may even be the original carpet from the complex (built in 2005 or 2006).
What recourse do I have here? If I’m not mistaken I can’t be held responsible to pay for brand new carpet because one; the carpet I received was already several years old and had depreciated from it’s original full price cost, and two; I lived on the carpet for 20+ additional months, and the regular wear and tear that would depreciate the value even more is covered in my rent. As explained to me by my father; if I wreck a 1995 Toyota Camry then the insurance company isn’t going to give me the purchase price cost of a 2012 Camry, they’re going to give me the Blue Book value of a 1995 Camry. I also assume the previous landlord probably claimed the apartment depreciation on his taxes, which if I’m not mistaken negates charging me for that same depreciation (a double dip if you will).
Going further than that, I paid an additional $200 at move in (in a non-refundable pet deposit) and an additional $25/month to keep my dog on the premise.
As far as witnesses…. A few days before I moved out I had a repair/maintenance guy in there to fix a leaky faucet. He told me at the time that the carpet would probably need to be cleaned, but that it looked fine and I could just expect to lose a chunk of the deposit on the cleaning (which I fully expected). The day I moved out I had two buddies in the apartment to help me pick up a few last things, one of them was also there the day I moved in, and they will vouch for the condition of the carpet. Lastly, I took a video using my phone of the entire apartment before leaving the last time. Unfortunately the video isn’t of the greatest quality (it’s on my phone), and it was dark so you don’t really get a great view of the carpet.
My assumption is that the new property company decided they just wanted to tear up the carpet and start anew, and they’re trying to bully me into paying for it. They of course have threatened legal action if I fail to pay, but I’m assuming that’s all just part of them trying to bully me. I plan to go in tomorrow on my lunch and have what promises to be a colorful conversation with the manager.
What suggestions do you guys have?