Q: Will I be responsible for landlord's legal fees if I take them to small claims court and lose?
I am considering small claims court because my landlord has withheld my deposit and is asking for an additional $400. The unit was cleaned completely, with all aspects of their checklist followed, and there was no damage beyond ordinary wear and tear. They included 5 minor damages lumped together, with a combined real value of <$50, for which they demanded $1125. Because the charges were not itemized I have no idea where the prices are coming from, am I being charged $500 to replace a $5 door stop for example? Their charges are exaggerated and I believe that I can make a good case, the problem I am concerned with is can they bring a lawyer, railroad me, then charge me legal fees as well? I know that ordinarily they cannot recover legal fees in small claims court, but there is a part of the lease saying they can charge for reasonable legal fees resulting from enforcement of the lease/tenant's breech, would this apply to disputing damages? Any advice is greatly appreciated, thanks.
A: Yes, if you lose, under the rules for these types of claims, you would end up being responsible for their attorney's fees and court costs.
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