We rented an apartment for 1.5 years while we renovated our house. It was freshly painted when we moved in but the floors were fairly scratched up (general wear and tear not large scratches). The lease was a month to month lease. The rent and security deposit were $4400 each. The lease required 60 days notice for termination. We gave more than 60 days notice via email but told our landlord, “We will move out by May 31st if we must continue to pay month by month but we would love to stay an extra week and pay per diem as a move out the first week of June would be much less stressful for us”. Our landlord agreed to allow us to pay per diem for the first week in June via written notice via email. We moved out on June 6th.
We spent 2 days cleaning the apartment–both personally and with professionals. We left it spotless–even washing all marks off the walls. There were 4 areas of minor damage–2 kitchen cabinets with scratches, the ice maker in freezer was broken, 2 thin scratches on one bedroom floor (6 in, 9 in), and an area of living room with some tiny dents in an 2 ft sq area where someone put chair down on floor instead of rug. Unfortunately, we did not take photos of anything.
Our landlord failed to notify us in writing of our right to a walkthrough, returned our security deposit 2 months later than required (I reminded him nicely and repeatedly via email that we were waiting for it), didn’t return any interest on the security deposit, and charged us $2800 in damages. He charged us the entire fee for refinishing all the floors in a two story, 3 bedroom apt, most of the re-painting fee of the house, as well as for the damage to the ice maker.
I informed him that he had returned our security deposit late, had not given us any interest on security deposit, had not provided written notification of right to walk through and repairs by us, and was charging us for normal “wear and tear”. He then threatened that I owed him $3300 more in rent for June and late fees because I had never obtained a mutually SIGNED agreement that said we could go to per diem (as stated in the original lease that any modification to the agreement had to be signed by both parties).
1. If he agreed to per diem via email does this count as “written, signed agreement”?
2. Is it worth pursuing this in small claims court? or is there risk that I would be liable for rent and late fees as he is threatening?
3. Even if we do not sue him in small claims court is there some other way to file a complaint against a landlord?