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Two weeks after moving out, my landlord said that I was going to be charged $40 for cleaning fees. After several emails of me trying to ask him what I was being charged for, he claimed that there were some hairs on the vinyl mattress which had to be cleaned. However I had wiped the vinyl mattress down with sanitizing wipes before I left; there was no way it would even be remotely dirty.

When I demanded photo or video proof of uncleanliness, my landlord could not provide them. But at the same time, I don't have photos or videos to prove that it was clean when I left. I also didn't arrange a move out inspection. What should I do? Am I obligated to pay the amount?

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Usually, your landlord is going to deduct this from your security deposit rather than invoice you for it.

As a practical matter, your options to dispute the charges are generally going to be excessively expensive relative to a $40 charge to make it worth fighting, particularly if you don't have contemporaneous evidence that is indisputable like photos that you can authenticate at a hearing, to prove that the landlord is wrong.

Your testimony would be admissible to contradict the landlord's claim, and the judge would have to decide who to believe, but generally, it only makes any sense at all to litigate over small dollar amounts if you have unmistakably clear evidence that shows you should win.

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