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Holding Deposit for Dead Grass?

Posted by Dan C. on September 06, 2001 at 09:41:03:

If you have a comment on this, can you please email me at Thanks!

I know this sounds stupid, but here is the sordid mess details:

Upon moving in, we agreed to pay ALL utilities here in New Mexico, meaning that if the grass needed watering, we'd be forced to water it (as much as we wanted to since we were paying the water bill). Three months before we moved out, the lease expired and we defaulted to a month-to-month agreement by law. My landlord told us he wanted us to water the grass (more than we had been) and offered a deal where we could pay an average for the water every month (same amount each month) or just continue to pay the individual amounts. We chose the latter, at which time I bought a water timer and sprinkler and got reimbursed by my landlord for them.

For the next three months, we proceeded to run the water timer once in the morning and once in the evening. Suffice it to say, it was very hot this summer and the grass never came back.

My landlord has informed me he is holding my rent deposit to cover the cost of trying to revive the grass. I don't feel this is legitimate, as we made an attempt to water the grass but it never came back. We never got any help from him as far as chemicals or seeding or fertilizer. He is claiming that we "didn't return the house to him in the same condition as when we rented it." We rented it in April, 2000, and the grass was just starting to come in.

On another note, my landlord HAS NOT provided me with an itemized list of what he is holding our money for. He has called me and told me he is holding all of it, but that is all. It has been approximately 35 days now and no itemized list has arrived.

If I write him a 7-day demand letter and don't get it back, and then end up going to court, does he have any kind of case with the yard? We made an attempt (we didn't have unlimited funds to water nonstop) to water the yard, but the grass never came back.

Again, please mail me at if you have any advice, as this is my first time here and I don't frequent this board (yet!).


Dan C.

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