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DISPUTING DAMAGE CHARGES WITH A PROPERTY

Hopefully, throughout the course of your time renting your apartment or other residence, you took care to keep it in the same condition in which you found it. When you first begun your rental agreement, you probably performed a walk through with your landlord in which the property was fastidiously examined for any signs of damage. The point of conducting this examination in the presence of your landlord was to ascertain the exact condition of the property so that you would not be wrongfully accused of any property damages you did not cause upon moving out.

Most landlords are not going to try to take financial advantage of you concerning your security deposit just because you change the shower heads. This is the specific amount you are required to pay upfront when you move in, an amount that essentially grants your landlord a certain buffer of protection. If you were to personally cause damage while responsible for the building, your security deposit could be kept in order to cover the cost of repairs. Most landlords are simply concerned with having that safety net so they are not left to cover repairs out of their own pocket when a tenant leaves a property. Therefore, if a dispute over damages does arise when you are ready to leave for a different area, you should first attempt calmly discuss the matter with your landlord.

Preventative Measures

Disputing property damages is a prime example of a problem whose "cure" is found in prevention. It helps to be very familiar with the standard protocol of renting, including such measures as a walk through, before you sign a lease agreement in the first place. When you are well versed in the standard practices of landlords and standard responsibilities of tenants, you generally know the advantageous questions to ask. Unprepared and uninformed first-time renters may daydream throughout the course of their initial walk through, later regretting the important opportunity they forfeited.

When you are preparing for your initial walk through, you should insist on the ultimate level of protection for yourself if you do not see security measures already in place. For instance, you and your landlord should look everywhere in the building. If you feel that a landlord is rushing or purposefully avoiding certain areas of the property, do not hesitate to insist on taking your time or seeing every last corner and closet of the property. If it has not already been mentioned to you, ask the landlord if details of the apartment's current condition will be written down in the lease agreement.

Some shy renters feel somewhat timid when it comes to naming all the small instances of damage seen in a rental property, but bringing up these matters is more than worth renters' efforts. A landlord may, during the first walk through, request that you as the tenant-to-be name any areas of concern that you see. If this is the case, name every small instance of damage you see, no matter how insignificant it seems.

Disputing damage charges with a property is much simpler when you have a paper signed by you and your landlord that delineates all property damage upon your moving in. Other things that can help if you are accused of causing damage you know you did not cause would be to have a witness from the first walk through. If anyone accompanied you at that point, the two of you can remind your landlord of damage noted at the time. If your landlord has simply forgotten matters noted at the time, he or she will need to go back and retrieve any documents from the first walk through.

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