You want to do a final walk thru with the manager or representative when everything is out and cleaned and discuss and note any concerns or conversation, maybe tape record the conversation without letting them know. In many cases it can be used in a court of law as evidence even without them knowing they were recorded, in CA anyways. Even if if you don't need it you will still have a record of the final walk thru.
You may want to contact the Inland Mediation Board as they are free legal advice for tenants and landlords. They can advise you as to what timeframes that vary from county to county as to how long a tenant can live in a rented residence and not be charged for painting or carpet replacement etc.
The manager/representative will tell you when you are going thru the walk thru what their issues are and the tape recording may be beneficial as to who said what if anything goes awry or they attempt to keep some or depreciate some of your deposit. Anything is possible in these types of instances so you want to protect yourself with a record that can be used in your defense or prove your case.
The landlord may have a right to a part of your deposit for touchup paint and that is usually $300-350 total. Carpet cleaning will cost you a lot more if they have someone come in than if you have it done, although if you don't use a heavy duty steam cleaning company, they may use their own carpet cleaning company anyways depending on the condition of the carpet and stains, burns, etc. I would run that by them just to save some money in case they clean the carpets with their own cleaners anyways at your cost. Heavy duty steam cleaning can cost a few hundred dollars.
If you have any koolaid stains or burns in the carpet anywhere, you may pay for those consequences since you didn't take pictures of any defects when you moved in. Clarify any of that at the final walk thru. You should have an idea of what they are going to charge and how much you can expect back at that time. They have 3 weeks to give you your deposit back and if they kept any, they have to provide a break down of the expenses being charged to you. Call the Inland Mediation Board just for the record for more legal information at no cost to you and keep us posted to the outcome. This is only advise from my experience and their advise is free legal advise.
Inland Mediation Board brochure http://tinyurl.com/9q94d4k
Sheryl Arndt, Real Estate Broker â€“ Sr. Loan Officer CA only
REO & Short Sale Specialist
20+ Years Experience
If your owner or manager didn't take pictures either is comes down to "he said / she said" and in our fair city the tenant usually wins. For that reason it really behooves owners and managers to document move-in condition.
Security deposits are the number one cause for small claims court battles between tenants and owners. For properties I manage I always document move-in / move-out with a check list and pictures. It makes the whole process much more amicable and business like.