Help! Landlord Making Up Bogus Cleaning Charges

Keith wants some help with his landlord making up bogus cleaning charges when he left his apartment.

I moved out of an apartment a couple months ago. My fiance and I cleaned it before leaving, to make sure they don’t try to charge us for nonsense. But well, that didn’t help.

I have attached a copy of the letter I received detailing the charges.
$25 for vacuuming the carpet?
$10 for sweeping a tiny bathroom?!

And other “cleanup” charges. While I accept the gas bill, the others are just over doing it, in my opinion. Let’s just assume I didn’t clean up (which is not true. The whole apartment was cleaned)… is it not acceptable living wear and tear? Vacuuming a carpet, sweeping a floor, wiping down a sink? Is this not what they do when everyone leaves? I know the carpets were shampooed before I moved in, and the walls were painted. Is this not standard procedure?!

I know the charges aren’t high, but is just the principle of the matter.

By the way, the ‘trash removal’ was 2-3 flattened moving boxes I forgot to take out.

What is the best way to try to get my money back for these charges? I need some help!

Thanks,
Keith

Dear Keith,

You’re probably screwed.


It’s very common for landlords to invent cleaning charges. Depending on Virginia’s laws, you might have recourse by taking him to small claims court, but you might have a rough go of it without photos showing you left the apartment clean, or other documentation. Also, the filing fees, not to mention the hassle, will probably outweigh any settlement you might hope to win.

Probably not what you want to hear, but all things considered, it might be best just to move on.

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— BEN POPKEN