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sneffadi

Old carpet and Pet smells

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So my husband and I are moving out of our apartment and I'm concerned about some things our landlord may charge us with and I want to find out about our rights

 

We live in a house where the upstairs has an apartment and the downstairs has an apartment. We have 2 dogs which were allowed, we paid pet rent, a pet deposit for them and the landlord knows about them. The people who lived in the apartment before us had a dog, the people who lived downstairs had a dog and the people who lived there before them had 2 dogs.

 

We live in Utah and the landlord is in California so he doesn't come by very often. A month ago his wife dropped by to "inspect" the unit (she just walked through. Took a total of about 30 seconds - she had no idea what she was doing). A week later our landlord contacted us and said that she said it smelled very strongly of urine and he said the smell is going downstairs to the apartment below because it is in the vents and this is all from our dogs.

 

He told us not to get the carpets cleaned because he wants to replace the carpets because they are very old, but that he would want us to pay to replace the carpet padding.

 

A month later he came and inspected our apartment and said the smell was a lot better. I don't know how he could know this since he was not the one who inspected the apartment before. Also, we did nothing to clean the carpets or remove the odors since we suspected it was all BS in the first place.

 

Some people moved in downstairs last week who have 2 cats and the smell of cat has started to spread throughout the unit over the past week. We notified the landlord of this.

 

We've never noticed a smell in the apartment, though we recognize that this could be that we're used to it, but we've asked guests and they've said they've never noticed it. If he decides to push the issue, how can we prove whether or not there is or is not a smell?

How can the landlord prove that any pet smells come from just our dogs since there have long been dogs in the apartment?

Is it possible that he'll blame us for the cat smell?

What counts as normal wear and tear since the carpet is very old and dirty as is? Can he charge us for replacing the padding?

 

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated

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We've never noticed a smell in the apartment, though we recognize that this could be that we're used to it, but we've asked guests and they've said they've never noticed it. If he decides to push the issue, how can we prove whether or not there is or is not a smell?

How can the landlord prove that any pet smells come from just our dogs since there have long been dogs in the apartment?

Is it possible that he'll blame us for the cat smell?

What counts as normal wear and tear since the carpet is very old and dirty as is? Can he charge us for replacing the padding?

 

 

 

What you have to understand is that the landlord doesn't have to PROVE anything in order to apply your security deposit to damage you caused and he CAN charge you for whatever he believes he is entitled to charge you for.

 

Within those parameters he has to follow the Utah security deposit law which I present here for your review:

 

http://law.justia.com/codes/utah/2012/title-57/article-17/

 

Once he does that, if you believe that he has charged you wrongly, you have the option of suing in small claims court.

 

In small claims court you, the plaintiff, goes first and you have to present evidence showing why the landlord wrongly charged you.

 

He, in turn, THEN has to present evidence to prove that he charged you properly.

 

My experience as a landlord and as a pet owner is this:

 

I guarantee you that your pets DID pee on the carpets on numerous occasions when you weren't around or weren't looking. That's what pets do and that damages both the carpet and the pad.

 

That being said, if the carpet has already outlived its useful life then the pad has also outlived its useful life and he would only be entitled to the depreciated value of both. With old worn carpet that could be as little as 10% so he doesn't get to charge you for new pad to replace old pad since he would have to replace it anyway.

 

Getting into a "what if" discussion with him is probably a waste of time unless you want to try to negotiate a written settlement with him that releases you from all further claims in exchange for X dollars.

 

If you can't reach an agreement you basically have no choice but to move out and let it happen and then sue him if he fails to comply with the security deposit statute.

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Some people moved in downstairs last week who have 2 cats and the smell of cat has started to spread throughout the unit over the past week. We notified the landlord of this.

 

I'm curious about this.  Are you suggesting that the smell of two cats in the unit below you is distinguishable from, and so overpowering that it overcomes, the smell of your own two dogs in your unit?  That's awfully hard to believe.

 

 

 

If he decides to push the issue, how can we prove whether or not there is or is not a smell?

 

The same way anyone proves anything -- with witness testimony and any other evidence that may exist.  I'm not aware of any way to prove or disprove the existence of a smell other than by witness testimony (other than having the judge or jury visit the location, which isn't going to happen in a case like this).

 

 

 

How can the landlord prove that any pet smells come from just our dogs since there have long been dogs in the apartment?

 

With his/her own testimony and the testimony of any person who might testify to being in the apartment immediately prior to your taking position and that the apartment was free of any noticeable pet smell at that time.  Needless to say, I have no idea if such a witness actually exists.

 

 

 

Is it possible that he'll blame us for the cat smell?

 

Of course it's possible.

 

 

 

What counts as normal wear and tear since the carpet is very old and dirty as is?

 

Normal wear and tear is exactly what it sounds like.  What's "normal" when you have a pet is different from what's "normal" when you don't have a pet.  That's why landlords often collect a pet deposit and charge increased rent to tenants with pets.  The most important thing to be aware of is that you're only responsible for returning the premises in the same condition as when you moved in.  If, when you move out, it's necessary to replace the carpet, the landlord is not entitled to fund the new carpet solely with your deposit.  Rather, you're only on the hook for difference in value between when you moved in and out, less normal wear and tear.  When you have a pet, the pet deposit is designed to cover "normal" damage caused by the pet that is over and above what is "normal" for those who don't have pets.

 

 

 

Can he charge us for replacing the padding?

 

Of course.

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Hi sneffadi,

 

Welcome to the forum.  It looks like you have already received some helpful responses from the Answers community along with a link to a local code section!  If you have any further issues, you may want to obtain the assistance of an attorney.  A local landlord tenant attorney can be found in the FindLaw directory.

 

The following articles may also provide some more insight:

Take care,

 

The FindLaw.com Team

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