Q: My landlord sent me a bill for damages to an apt and an unpaid water bill. I have video and audio proof of no damages.
And the water bill is included in the rent which I paid on time in full every month. How can I take action against them.
Within 4 days after the date that you move out, you are required to give your landlord written notice of an address where you will receive mail from them. If you do that, the landlord has to mail you a notice of damages they claim against your security deposit. If they claim damages that are less than the amount of the deposit, the landlord is required to send a check for the undisputed amount to you with the notice.
You must respond in writing to the landlord's written statement of damages within 7 days of the date you received the letter, or lose important rights. Send it registered mail and keep a copy for your records. In your response, state each of your objections to the landlord's claims. Be clear and specific as to why you object. After that, contact your landlord, and ask for clarification and share your photos/video. That may put an end to the matter or you may agree to a lesser amount.
If you respond to the notice of damages within 7 days, and you do not object to all of the claimed damages, only a part of them, your landlord may keep part of your deposit in the amount of the damages that you did not object to. With respect to the damages you objected to, your landlord has a choice; the landlord has to either refund the security deposit to you, or file a lawsuit against you asking the court to determine the amount of damages. The landlord has to file this lawsuit within 45 days of the date you terminated your occupancy of the rental, or refund the money. If the landlord sues you within that 45 days, present your evidence to the judge. If the landlord doesn't sue you within 45 days and doesn't refund the disputed portion of the security deposit, you may file a case against the landlord and ask for 2x the amount of the unreturned deposit.
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