Keeping my deposit
We recently moved out of a rental property we had been in for a year. We should have broken the lease ages ago due to the owner not taking care of health and safety issues (roach infestation and pigeon nests that were causing infestation of other insects) but we shelled out the cash to correct it after she said no (we had a 1 year old and it HAD to be done, I've never lived in such a situation before). So now, a year later, I find that my security deposit has been kept and spent 35 days after I handed over the keys. I had to ask for my money, only to be told I wasn't getting it. Here are the reasons they state:
1. I patched the (VERY SMALL, FEW) holes we made in the wall. A few in each room. There are large areas of spackle areound the house that the homeowners handymen never painted over, and I have photo documentation of it. They say that I have to pay for the touch up painting to be done.
2. the water outlet for the washer began leaking when we removed our washer. I notified the property manager as soon as I saw the leak (a few hours later) He did nothing to correct it, so I had to turn the water to the house off. It stayed off until the day i turned my keys over, which is the same day the cleaning crew and carpet cleaners came. I let the property manager know about it again that day and did my best to contain the leak (and I did a damn good job of it) but he says the baseboards were damaged because of it and that its my fault (my walk thru reported TONS of baseboard damage all over the house) so I'm being charged for new baseboards, and painting them.
3. the owner has a security system. We chose not to use it. we never activated it. We acutally never even touched it because we didn't know how to work it. Sometime in the last year, the circuit board on the system fried. We never knew. No smell, no fire, no nothing. I'm being charged 300$ for that.
4. Lastly, we arebeing charged for pet stains on the carpet. Back in the fall when we turned the heat on, we began to notice a heavy pet odor in our bedroom. It came from under the sofa in our room. We called the property manager after we moved the sofa and pulled up the edge of the carpet and found that the carpet was covered in pet stains. We told him It had to be remedied and the owner refused. I photographed it all. No stains visible on the surface of the carpet, but thick yellow ones underneath. We told him if she wouldn't pay, we were going to pull up the pad, throw it out, thouroughly clean the carpet ourselves and replace the pad. he told us that was fine. Now he's taken 600$ to replace that carpet.
So, this is the quick backstory. Owner of the home could not afford to live in the home. she moved into her RV. She has a very sordid history including involvement with the drug cartel here in El Paso (we found out well after we moved in.) She was supposed to replace the carpet before we moved in. At the lease signing, I inquired to make sure the carpet had been done and was told by the property manager that it had. sign the lease, get the keys, no new carpet (the carpet was in sad shape)
I feel like she is trying to use MY money to jazz up her house for sale.
I'm doing all the research I can, but we are just a month away from being transferred out of state by the military.
After a walk thru is done with an owner after a tenant moves out, is there a procedure or time limit that protects tenants from damage that can be caused by the owner after the fact? For example, I had 48 hours to do my walk thru inspection, after that, anything that happened could be pinned on me. Is there a same time frame for owners?
Anything that any of you can advise me on would be most appreciated.