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guests caused the damage to the smoke detector, you must also have paid to the landlord in advance the reasonable costs of the repair or replacement of the smoke detector. If you bring court proceedings against the landlord, you may be entitled to obtain: (1) a court order directing the landlord to comply with your request (but not in a case filed with a Justice of the Peace Court); (2) a court order awarding you damages that resulted from the landlord's failure to install, repair, or replace the smoke detector; (3) an award of one month's rent plus $100 as a penalty against the landlord; and (4) court costs and attorney's fees.

enant Disabling of Smoke Detector You may be liable for damages to the landlord for removing a battery from a smoke detector without immediately replacing it with a working battery, or for disconnecting or intentionally damaging a smoke detector, causing it to malfunction. If the lease between the landlord and you contains a notice in underlined or boldfaced print warning you not to disconnect or intentionally damage a smoke detector, or warning you to replace a battery that has been removed from the smoke detector by you, the landlord may be able to obtain a court order directing you to comply with the landlord's notice, to pay a civil penalty of one month’s rent plus $100, and a judgment against you for court costs and reasonable attorney's fees.


The landlord can only deduct damages and charges from the security deposit for which you are legally liable under the lease agreement, or for physical damage to the property for which you are responsible. Your landlord cannot retain part of your security deposit to cover normal wear and tear. Normal wear and tear means deterioration or damage that occurs based upon the normal, intended use of the premises and not due to your negligence, carelessness, accident, or abuse. For example, the landlord cannot withhold part of your security deposit for worn carpet, small nail holes, scratches on the sink or countertops, or fingerprints on the walls. A landlord may be able to deduct for large, permanent stains on the carpet and pen marks on the walls caused by you or your guests. Even in these cases, the landlord may not be entitled to replace all of the carpet or paint the entire house at your expense.

Landlord Must Refund or Explain Within 30 Days Your security deposit must be refunded to you within 30 days after you move out of the apartment or house, provided that you give a written forwarding address to your landlord. You can give your forwarding address at any time; however, the landlord's duty to refund does not exist until you do so. If your landlord has cause to retain all or a portion of your security deposit, the landlord must provide you with a refund of the balance of the security deposit, if any, together with a written description and itemized list of all deductions within 30 days of your move out (or within 30 days of your giving her your forwarding address in writing).


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