- The dispute: mold and crack in a common bath tub shared by multiple users. Landlord refuses to return deposit until tenant pay for a replacement of bath tub including professional installation.
- Signed lease agreement: none. Only some emails.
- Venue is White Plains, NY, US
I moved in 21 Apr and moved out 18 Nov 2017. Until now landlord has not returned my $750 deposit.
According to landlord, the bath tub was spotless when I moved in, but I could see it had been in use for at least 5 years. There was already another tenant in the other guest room when I moved in. My room had been used by Landlord's son. All of these occupants have only one bath tub to share.
A few months later we noticed minor mold in the bathtub. Landlord insisted (by email) that the other current tenant (Zuhur) and I restore it to the original condition, using our own money to pay for two thirds of the total cost.
There’s no ventilation to prevent mold, but there are many wet objects in the bath room creating moisture.
The crack became visible to everyone a few days after I moved in, when there was another short-term tenant + me sharing the common bathtub. No idea who caused it, but there's a clue -- the plastic (not ceramic) bathtub lacked solid support underneath, so much so that any adult standing on it would notice the base sinking down. This was noticed by all tenants I have spoken to. The wife of the landlord confirmed that the installation was not perfect and missed the support beneath the tub. Unfortunately no one is willing to provide written witness. This crack is probably the main reason for the replacement, even though the landlord has always mentioned it as a second "problem" to be fixed -- his emails always singles out the mold as the primary problem.
In Dec 2017, landlord finally fixed the bathtub. He didn't treat the mold but instead replaced the entire bathtub and sent me a bill over $3000. I replied to say let court decided how much I should pay. Landlord then counter-sued me for $5000 damage to his property.
As to the "ordinary cost of repairs", for mold it should be a few hundred dollars. Total area of mold added up to less than my thumb fingernail. For the crack, total cost is the replacement cost, probably $1000+ rather than the $3000 bill he sent me.