Lease agreement cannot be found. Asked the landlord, who refused, so far, to copy the agreement.
Joe - Thanks for taking the time to get the details to answer the questions. Much appreciated!
The landlord already said that he is charging for cleaning the drapes - not new when we moved in - and for the carpet, which is more than 5 years old, but in good shape. I would consider both of those normal wear and tear. The drapes have not been damaged. The carpet is in pretty good shape, looks fairly new.
The place hasn't been painted since we moved in and the closets and kitchen cabinets are original to the apartment, so about 60 years old. The stove is relatively new and the fridge is about 7 or 8 years old. The tile floor in the bathroom is cracked, because it was not put in properly and the paint is disappearing on the bathroom cabinet.
Can he charge us for the carpet cleaning and drape cleaning? My guess is he is going to remodel, because that is his MO.
There should have been an inspection prior to leasing the property and if not, one should be conducted 10-14 days prior to moving to go over the condition of the property.
The owner must give the tenant an opportunity to cure anything noted in the walk thru.
An owner can not charge for "normal wear and tear" i.e. painting or drapes, unless there were missing blind in which case the owner can charge for replacements. However, it is up to the tenant to clean the carpet and drapes as they take on odors from smoke, cooking, dust etc......
In the end, the Rental Agreement should take precidence and spell out the terms and conditions of the cleaning deposit. However, no landlord is entitled to just "take" the tenants clean deposit.
Hopes this helps.
And are you on the list to rent only to Section 8? If so --- you should consult with the local agencies managing Section 8 rentals to find out what a fair price would be depending on the configuration of your rental unit.
If not required to rent only to Section 8, you can certainly try to charge the market value --- which again would depend on the improvements you may have made since the last tenant left. If your paint and drapes are unchanged....hoo boy...it's time to change them. You may be able to get a better rate if you make some basic improvements that mean new paint, new flooring, new window coverings.