Ask Amy: Apartment renter charges, ID theft protection tip

It seems like we are always hearing about companies dealing with hackers. We are sharing an extra step you can take now, to better protect your personal information online. Plus, what can a landlord charge you for when you move out? We are tackling both topics!

Can a landlord charge to replace carpets?

Viewer A. Gage says his daughter and son-in-law recently moved out of an apartment and the landlord charged them to replace the carpets.

Question: “I always thought when a tenant vacates an apartment, new rugs are part of the preparedness for a new tenant. Please advise.” --A. Gage.

(Copyright 2020 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

Answer: The landlord may not always put new carpets between tenants. If the renter tore or stained the carpet they can be charged for the replacement. They can be charged for anything other than normal wear and tear. This is most likely spelled out in your renter’s agreement.

Ask for proof: They should ask the landlord to provide pictures of the damage he is claiming they made. The landlord has to provide an itemized list of why he is charging what amount.

Have your own proof: Ideally, renters should take pictures of the apartment after they move everything out, just to have evidence of cleanliness and to document any damage.

Need help? If you need help with an issue with your apartment, in the Houston area, you can call the Houston Apartment Association (HAA) at 713-595-0300 to speak to a trained consultant and ask questions about renter rights, lease contracts or to file a complaint against their property owner. HAA provides a variety of resources to aid renters and landlords in finding an amicable, fair resolution to landlord-renter disputes.

Getting a (free) second phone number could help protect your private information

Next, is a helpful tip that a KPRC2 Insider sent us after we told you about a virtual kidnapping ransom scam. You may remember, that a 25-year-old received a phone call from what looked like his mother’s phone number. Someone on the other end of the line said they were holding her hostage.

(Copyright 2020 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

He paid $900 in ransom money via Venmo before finding out it was a hoax. Experts think these scammers get cellphone numbers from social media.

Here’s the tip from one of our KPRC2 Insiders:

Ms. B says she uses an app called “Text Now” to create a phone number for all of her social media accounts. She uses this number for everything online. Other than Text Now, you can create a phone number with other services like Google Voice, Podium, Sideline, and CloudSIM. [BTW, we’d love it if you joined our KPRC2 Insider team!]

We have to admit, some of our best ideas come from you! Keep sending your questions (or suggestions) to and we will work to get answers for you.

About the Authors:

Passionate consumer advocate, mom of 3, addicted to coffee, hairspray and pastries.

Award-winning TV producer and content creator. My goal as a journalist is to help people. Faith and family motivate me. Running keeps me sane.