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Tenancy Problems - Checking Out

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- Residential Rental Inspection Report
Q: I am leaving my apartment after 1 year and a half. The last six months have been on a month-to-month basis and I've given the appropriate notice to vacate. I was under the impression that normal wear and tear would not be deducted from my damage deposit, so my question is this; how much work/money am I required to put in to bring the apartment back to "showroom" condition? The carpets aren't filthy and I don't have pets, but they could be cleaned; do I pay for that? The apartment is very tidy and there are no holes in the walls, but I did hang pictures and there is the odd scuff on the paint and it will need a good cleaning; do I have to do that? Can my landlord legally deduct simple cleaning charges from my damage deposit? (I expect it would take a professional cleaner 3 or 4 hours to get the place back to perfect shape). If normal wear and tear is allowed, who determines what "normal" is?
A: The evidence presented in arbitration will persuade an Arbitrator what is normal wear and tear and what supports a claim for damages. Condition and inspection reports are now required when a tenancy starts and when it ends. With documented details of conditions before them, Arbitrators have a much easier time determining what damages have occurred, in what approximate amounts, and who is responsible.
Remarkably, a lot of landlords claim damages yet only present cost estimates for repair. Many landlords will simply go to a local home building supply store, take down the prices of materials they think will be needed to repair, add on the cost of labor, and expect an Arbitrator to award them that amount.
It is my experience in these cases that landlords almost invariably over-value the material and labor costs yet expect to get the amount they claim - but cost estimates aren't evidence of actual loss suffered. A surprising number of landlords actually intend to fix the damages themselves and pocket the difference, thereby compensating themselves for their time and inconvenience.
As for the landlord deducting monies from your damage deposit, he can only deduct that amount which you agree in writing that he may. So, if you don't agree that he can deduct any monies, he'll have to claim against your deposit in accordance with the Act. You'll probably challenge his claim and you'll be off to arbitration arguing about 3 or 4 hours of cleaning costs, and if they were really needed.


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