My wife and I resided in an apartment in Baltimore, Maryland for two and a half years. When we first moved in we painted some walls in the apartment, we were tired of eggshell white, and when we moved out we contacted the leasing office to discuss their policy on painted walls. We spoke to a leasing agent who was in that day and asked her what we needed to do in order to not incur charges our have our security deposit withheld. It was explained to us that all we needed to do is "coat the walls in a similar color paint to the point that the walls would only need one coat of paint when the painters came in to paint the apartment." We did just that and after spending a good eight hours or more in the apartment painting the walls we left confident that the wall colors beneath were sufficiently covered to the point that they should only need the one coat the woman previously mentioned. So when we recieved a letter from Apartment services stating that the walls were not painted back sufficiently we were outraged. My wife paints for a living and her professional opinion is that if they were using the Sherwin Williams quality paint they use to paint all the apartments then there was no reason that one coat should not have sufficed. So, at eighty dollars a room, with three rooms painted, the total for the painting done by Apartment Services came to two hundred forty dollars. Our second issue was that Apartment Services also stated in the letter that our carpet was "over worn and soiled." My question is that if it was only my wife and I residing at the aprtment, with no pets or children, how is it the carpet might have gotten over worn or soiled? Granted there were a few stains on the carpet, but nothing a steam cleaner could not remove easily. And as for the worn areas of the carpet, they were high traffic areas i.e. by the front door and along the kitchen and bathroom entrances. The rest of the carpet was in fine condition, yet the leasing office is also charging us for the replacement of all the carpet throughout the entire apartment. So, with all items taken into consideration along with our security deposit of three hundred dollars we were told we owe around eight hundred dollars, which brings the total to somewhere around eleven hundred dollars. When we argued this matter they were "kind" enough to be willing to settle this debt for a "measily" five hundred dollars plus our security deposit. We will not stand for this treatment. They are taking advantage of a poor, young couple who are having a hard enough time making ends meet without a large company who already recieved tens of thousands of dollars from us in rent over the two and a half years we lived there trying to take another eight hundred dollars from them. We are willing to forfeit our security deposit to pay for said damages but we do not feel anything more than this is owed and are willing to fight this to the bitter end if necessary. We are just looking for some advice on this matter and any attention to our problem from anyone would be greatly appreciated. We want to take this to small claims court but we do not want to make that next step if we stand no chance of winning, or at least lowering the amount owed. Another question, can we make the first move and take them to small claims court or do we have to wait for them to make the claim. Thanks again for any help.
Sincerely,
Two Frustrated People