Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Business & FinanceRenting & Real Estate · 4 weeks ago

My previous landlord is blaming me for damage their staff did, they are sending me a bill and threatening with damage to credit history?

Landlord had plumbers come in and fix a leak going into unit below mine, the plumbers and landlord's maintenance staff made a mess, stepped all over the carpet with their boots causing stains. According to my lease agreement they can enter whenever they want to to the unit, I cannot deny them access. Now landlord is blaming me for these stains. Landlord failed to come for final inspection (which we had agreed in writing) for me to be able to explain the reason of these stains. Now they are sending me a bill for the carpet replacement which I do not intend to pay. They are threatening me with sending me to a collections agency and damaging my credit history. It's only $150 so getting a lawyer is going to cost me more than the amount being disputed. I have an e-mail landlord sent me the day they were going to come in with their maintenance staff and plumbers to take care of the leak going into the apartment below. I have a document that we were supposed to perform a move-out inspection together (landlord and tenant) which they failed to show up to. Their staff verbally said they would send someone to clean their mess and they never did. Any advice?

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  • 4 weeks ago

    Encourage the landlord to take you to small claims court. He can't really sue you unless he does it there--the amount involved isn't enough to bring a legitimate "full-service" lawsuit. He'll HAVE to take you to small claims. Once he does, I hope you have evidence that they plumbers and he did the things you claim, otherwise it will be his word against yours.  You seem to have a fairly good case against paying the amount requested, even with the minor documentation you have.

    Even if he sends this bill to a collection agency, which will cost him more than he realizes and probably not be worth the expense, you can ALWAYS dispute the claim on your credit report--by writing or appending a message on the entry. It won't ruin your credit--it may just take some time and effort on your part. 

    OR you yourself can take the LANDLORD to small claims court--the filing fee is far, far less than hiring a lawyer--and you aren't usually allowed to have a lawyer in SC court anyway.  You could demand that the landlord pay YOU the money he is claiming you owe him, or up to $5000 damages for trying to ruin your credit. I would definitely fight back. At least you should tell the landlord you intend to sue him in SC court for damages to your credit and your reputation--and maybe he'll back off. 

    He's actually being a pretty big ****** about this. Let him know you have evidence of his neglect, his abuse and his attempt to damage you. And maybe that will work. If it doesn't, and he continues to try to collect, then go to SC court and let them show him how little of a case he has. 

  • 4 weeks ago

    They are not required to do a walk through on your way out.  It is at their option.  Did you report the stained carpet when you got home that day?  If you failed to, then you made it your responsibility.  If you did report it, it will be in their records.  "Their mess" is vague.  It means very little and thus won't amount to anything in court.

    Source(s): Certified Paralegal, with 25+ years' experience & with Landlord & Tenant law experience.
  • John
    Lv 4
    4 weeks ago

    you very curtiously put the event down in writing and explain your not paying for their vandelism. make copyies and send one to local law each, police, sheriff, district attorney. 

    then draft a second letter explaining to the land lord that if he/she continues to bother you you will charge he/she/it with vadelism AND attempted theft of the amount they are demanding.

    this is all based on what you claim you didnt do it.

  • 4 weeks ago

    You should have stayed on top of the plumbing people till they fixed it AND notified your landlord about it at the same time. 

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  • 4 weeks ago

    None of that show you didn't make the stains.

  • 4 weeks ago

    Not legal advice: just a suggestion.  Send a certified letter that lays out your argument that you were in NO WAY the cause of the damage and are thus not liable for any payment. Ask for a full refund of your deposit, payable immediately, with a mention of possible "legal action" to collect punitive damages if they refuse (assuming that's what's in dispute).  They must also calibrate a (valid) claim to the replacement value, not the new cost of a carpet.  The landlord has the burden of proving the tenant caused the damage. They know that, which is why the"collections" threat is bogus, if not also illegal.  Ask your local tenant-rights office for more actual advice.

  • martin
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    The landlord is in the wrong.  If you have free Tenants' Rights organizations, get in touch.  Otherwise, try to talk sense to the landlord, maybe with an influential friend coming along, like family, neighbors, or an attorney.

  • Anonymous
    4 weeks ago

    In small claims court you don't need a lawyer.

    I would just pay the $150.00.

  • 4 weeks ago

    Only way to dispute it is in court. You would have to be able to prove you did not cause it. Landlords are not legally required to do a move out walk through with you there in most states. Nothing signed can violate state law.  Unless you live in one of the very few states that does require it, that does not help you.  Any verbal satement to come clean it is not legally binding. 

  • 4 weeks ago

    Their staff verbally told you that they would send someone.

    You let it go - you didn't file a maintenance request.

    You assumed liability for their issue. 

    Your choices are:

    - don't pay, see if they take you to collections/small claims = let the courts decide

    - pay the $150

    If it was me, I'd pay the $150 because you are the one that was responsible for filing a formal maintenance request and you didn't. 

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