I recently had the carpets in my apartment cleaned and the guys that did the job scratched up my hallway wall. I advised them of this several times, and they assure me it would be fixed, but I never saw anyone.
I called them back a week later and I was told that the apartment maintenance people would be out to repaint the scratch and the property owners would then bill the carpet cleaners. They said a guy would be there that very day to do the work and of course he hasn’t showed. Numerous phone calls and broken promises later caused me to just finally call the apartment magers back and tell them, “look, just leave me the paint, and I’ll do the work myself.” Nothing.
So is there some arbitration service that can be contacted to help me get satisfaction? I live in Georgia.
Thanks in advance for your advice
With whom are you wanting to arbitrate, the landlord or the cleaners?
IANAL, but if the carpet cleaners damaged the property, I don’t think you have a claim against them until such time as you suffer damages (i.e. the landlord bills you or withholds your security deposit). If the landlord wants to paint the walls and bill the cleaners, let him/her. You’re well out of it. If you’re concerned that the landlord will later come after you for the damaged wall, I’d suggest one of two courses of action. 1) Write the landlord a letter (keep a copy) stating the facts of the damage and asking him/her to advise you on what s/he would like you to do. Request a response in writing. Send it certified or registered or however it is that the landlord has to sign for it and you get a copy of the receipt. If the landlord writes back, keep the response. If no response, note that on your copy of the letter. 2) Buy a gallon of paint that matches the walls and a brush and repaint it yourself. Keep your receipts. Deduct the cost of the paint and supplies from your next month’s rent check and send the landlord copies of the receipts in the same envelope.
If you’re near a university, check the phone book for a campus housing assistance center or tenant resource center. Otherwise, call city hall and ask if there’s a tenant resource center in town.
>> IANAL, but if the carpet cleaners damaged the property, I don’t think you have a claim against them until such time as you suffer damages
IANAL either but it seems to me he has already suffered damages as he is living in the place and even if he wasn’t. They have damaged property he is leasing and that should be enough.
As you noticed, its just boring waiting around for them. So maybe you could do it yourself. I would. Imean what could it take 20 minutes? Did you try just using soap & water & see if the blems come off?
…they gouged a place on the wall. It’s going to need paint. They have the touch-up paint, and anything I buy will not match.
>>IANAL either but it seems to me he has already suffered damages as he is living in the place and even if he wasn’t. They have damaged property he is leasing and that should be enough.<<
But he hasn’t incurred a monetary loss. No money has gone out of his pocket because of the actions of the cleaners. Say he files suit against the cleaners. The first question the judge is going to ask after he’s proved they hurt his wall is how much did it cost to fix? before he even gets to that point, he will probably have to give the court some idea of what he’s going to be asking for in damages, if for no other reason than to determine jurisdiction.
I think the two courses of action I suggested earlier are the best.
Be careful about deducting the cost of paint from rent - I don’t know about laws where you live, but here in Ontario, I think that could be considered as “withholding rent”, which is illegal. Check to see if its legal where you are, and/or if your landlord is ok with it.
You may want to look at your lease, for starters. I happen to have mine handy (just got a pet rider added for a new kitten), and it explicitly addresses the issues of maintenance requests not addressed in a ‘reasonable time’ period. If I’m reading this correctly, this breaks the lease. (!!!) I can move out without notice after a ‘reasonable time’ has passed without remedy. There is no mention of any other remedies due, and they state that they ‘will refund security deposits and prorated rent as required by law.’ It doesn’t say what exactly is required by law, though …
please don’t go deducting repair costs from your rent without talking to your landlord first. I would consider it rude if my tenant did that. And it’s also, BTW, a breach of your lease. Maybe the landlord has a particular contractor who s/he wants to do the work. Or maybe your landlord has a spare can of paint left over from that hallway & could spackle & repaint it in 15 minutes.
In my state, tenants may “repair & deduct” only after notifying the landlord in writing that some part of the apartment is not up to code & having the landlord blow them off for at least a month.
otherwise, I like Otto’s advice of a frank request for advice from the landlord.
if you want to spend time with a small claims suit, i think getting an estimate of the cost of the damage should be good enough. (get pictures of the damage) usually, the threat of small claims is good enough to get some recompense.
my information is valid for massachusetts. don’t know if there are differences for your state.
(but in any state, sheetrock repairs just aren’t that big a deal…)
IANALandlord-TenantL, so my only advice is the standard: document everything. But I will answer the following:
Arbitration is (with perhaps certain, ultra-rare statutory exceptions) only available as an alternative means of dispute resolution when both parties have agreed to it. You can’t even get these buttheads to show up when they say they’re gonna, so I seriously doubt you’ll get them to assent to arbitration.
… I found a quart can of paint in front of my door, so I guess I must have shamed them into finally bringing it by. However, I intend to test it on a non-visible area to make sure it blends, because I don’t trust those people to give me my deposit back if it happens not to.
I appreciate all the replies!