Landlord Hits Tenant of 11 Years With $766 Repair Bill, Despite Never Fixing Anything

A tenant that left their building of 11 years was hit with a surprise repair bill from their landlord that was higher than their security deposit.

Mustafa Gatollari - Author

Nov. 6 2023, Published 8:37 a.m. ET

There are pros and cons to renting, just like there are pros and cons to owning your own home or condo. When you purchase a home, unless you've got a few hundred thousand lying around (depending on where you're buying it), you've got to cover mortgage payments, PMI insurance if you don't have a 20% down payment, homeowner's insurance, and property taxes to pay.

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As of this writing, mortgage interest rates are pretty awful, meaning that you're going to be overpaying for a property over extended periods of time and are going to want to refinance as soon as possible if you manage to close on a property that you really, really like.

The upside to owning a home is that all of the money you put into that mortgage and any little bit extra you tack onto that nut brings you that much closer to actually owning your property. Then again, you're on the hook for any and all repairs and maintenance of said home, not to mention the government's property taxes that Uncle Sam is keen on collecting.

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Renting, on the other hand, means you aren't building any equity in the place you're living, but that's because the maintenance of the property is supposed to rest on the head of the landlord: that's why rental prices are often higher than the cost of a typical mortgage.

But it seems that this longtime tenant's landlord doesn't seem to think that the upkeep of their property is their responsibility, but that the onus should fall on the renter.

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This Reddit user uploaded a viral image of a letter they received from their landlord/property management company, informing them that require $766.25 due to a number of repairs/cleanings that were performed in their unit.

The statement shows that the total cost of all the services provided by the landlord amounted to $1,265.25, but that $500 was taken out of what looks like a security deposit from the tenant in question after they stopped living in the unit.

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In a caption for the post, the Redditor explains that they've been renting the unit for 11 years, and that the owners of the property have done diddly squat when it came to upkeep or fixing anything that was broken in the units, aside from the occasional clog that was set right with "Draino."

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OP also added that the walls in his unit tested positive for lead "via home tests" and the landlord raised their rent "illegally" on several occasions during their time in the unit.

Looking at the verbiage in the letter, it seems that the landlord is blaming the tenant for the damage that was incurred in the apartment, such as a screen door that they state cost $137 to replace. However, there were a number of commenters who replied to OP's post who said that due to the duration in which they've stayed at the apartment, a number of repairs could fall under "wear and tear."

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One person wrote: "They can't charge you for wear and tear, so if you lived there for 11 years, no way you are responsible for several of those. Blinds and drapes come to mind. What state are you in? In California I would think a judge would agree you don't owe for anything but cleaning and trash."

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OP responded to the aforementioned comment, clarifying that they are located in Oregon, while also mentioning that they were of the same mindset when it came to the charges brought to them by their landlord.

According to the Oregon State Bar, a landlord cannot charge a tenant for "normal wear and tear." Which means that if OP went to court after refusing to pay, which is something that the property owner appears intent on doing in their letter, then the discussion surrounding the repairs/maintenance would most certainly circle around the discussion of classifying what wear and tear is.

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The letter does indicate the the landlord/property management company has access to witnesses and pictures that would "back up" the charges they've levied against the tenant, but it's unclear as to whether or not the evidence they speak of can prove that the tenant themselves caused the damage that necessitated these repairs.

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A number of commenters urged OP to take the matter into court, while asking the landlord to itemize all of the damage that they believe they caused to the property. "This guy just sounds like a scam artist trying to make an extra grand on his renovations."

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