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Renter rights: pet urine

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#1 yewuteva


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Posted 22 June 2010 - 05:40 PM

We recently signed a 12-month lease for a single family home in California. When we were shown the house prior to signing the lease, the carpets had just been shampooed. When we moved in about a week later (paying a moving company $780), the shampoo fragrance had faded and we noticed an overpowering odor of pet urine in the carpets. Before signing the lease, neither the landlord nor the agent disclosed any pet urine problems. After moving in, we paid $375 for professional cleaners who specialize in pet urine removal to come clean all of the carpets in the house. After a little arguing, the landlord agreed to let us deduct it from the next month's rent. However, a couple days after that second cleaning, the odor returned as strong as ever. We then found a powerful carpet treatment that is often used to remove the odor of dead bodies. Again, after two days, the odor returned. Next, we went to a pet supply store and bought the strongest pet urine odor remover they had. Alas, the odor remains. We have been here 3 weeks now and can't even stand to be in the house. Do we have grounds to break our lease with a full refund of our deposit? Is there any way that we would be entitled to reimbursement of our moving expenses or any rent paid?

#2 Fallen


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Posted 23 June 2010 - 09:29 AM

Seems to me the urine has gone through the carpets and into the subfloor.

"Do we have grounds to break our lease with a full refund of our deposit?"

Not as a matter of statute, but you're free to sue the landlord for breach of contract.  That's about the only thing I can think of that would inspire the landlord to cave and let you out of the lease.  What kind of damages a court would give you, we can't know from here.

First, I'd decide what you're prepared to do and then send the landlord a polite letter demanding that they remedy the problem and send it via traceable means (showing on the letter that a copy went via regular mail).  You have to be prepared to sue and do so if/when the landlord ignores you.


I'll echo PG's advisory "warning" with a twist: (Many) legal issues are complicated. Explanations and comments here might not fully identify or explain the ramifications of your particular problem. I do not give legal advice as such (and such is impermissible here at any rate). Comments are based on personal knowledge and experience and legal info gleaned over a quarter century, and every state has differing laws on and avenues to address most topics.  If you need legal advice, you need to consult (and pay) a professional so that you may have someone to hold accountable.  Acting on personal and informational advice from a stranger on the internet is a bad idea -- at least not without your own thorough due dilience/research and confirmation as it applies to your situation.  :)

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