What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Georgia
I have a tenant that moved out 30 days ago. The tenant left multiple damages to the house that exceed what I would consider normal wear and tear. For instance, her cat tore up two of our door blinds as well as the weather stripping on all doors. They didn't mow 1/4 of our back yard so she could throw multiple heaps of cat litter in the grass to which we had to remove since it is a non biodegradable substance and clumped into cement just about which caused us to have to dig up that back 1/4 of our hard. They cracked one bedroom door severely across the middle and again at the top. They kicked a hole in our master bedroom double doors. They bleached out the carpet in large spots in our upstairs hall way and one of the bedrooms. There were multiple holes in the walls that were not caused from the standard picture nails. They're more along the lines of kicking the wall or stabbing a knife or flat head screw driver multiple times into the wall or possibly when moving in/out they rammed something into the wall in a few places. They cut a large hole in our counter tops in the kitchen so that the actual wood in the laminate counter tops is exposed in a 1" area. They ruined the paint by practically rubbing it off to a bare wall in our living room (probably used a "magic eraser" on it).
The tenant gave us a $1,500 deposit. After they moved in, they got a cat and a dog without our consent. We amended the contract when we found out about the pets and allowed them to keep the animals even though we didn't want pets in our house in the first place. We collected a total of $700 for the pet deposits for the two animals and the amended pet contracts state a non refundable deposit for the animals.
We got estimates on our house and we picked the least expensive solutions for everything. However, some things simply have to be replaced such as the counter tops and the doors and are causing the price to be pretty high. The total price for all of the damage came to $3,700.
We called the tenant and informed them that we are trying to send them the final bill and that we needed their forwarding address. She asked what the letter said and when my wife told her, she became very beligerant and started yelling at my wife. My wife told her all we were currently trying to do was to send the letter to her and we needed her address. She told my wife that she was not going to give her anything and that we were price gouging and we had already "gouged" her for the deposit money. She refused to tell us what her forwarding address was, told us that she was getting a lawyer to sue us and hung up the phone.
I feel what we have done is fair. We left a lot of items out of our estimate list such as the damage the caused to our microwave and our range which has left them in a very unattractive and unfixable state. I have charged them for steaming the carpets clean since they were disgustingly dirty but I didn't charge them for replacing the carpet upstairs which is where the bleached spots are. So, I have tried to get the cost of the repairs to a very minimum amount for her. However, the damages that are the worst have ended up costing a lot of money. The door she kicked a hole through in the master bedroom is a special order door that is expensive...
I want to know what else I need to do to cover myself if and when this goes to court. I have the estimates, we took photo's of all of the damage and we even had a neighbor help us clean out the back yard and looked at the house and said they would be a witness to the damage. I offered the tenant twice to do the final walk through with me but she refused and said "I trust you guys".
Is there anything else I need to do to make sure that we get the amount due for the damages they created?
Please, any advice is helpful.