Can I charge the tenant for pet stained carpets?

The house had high grade in great condition carpet when tenant took occupancy 1 year ago. There was a “no pets/no smoking” clause in the lease. The tenants broke the lease by allowing pets. In addition, the carpets are horribly stained and the smell of cat urine invades every room, it’s very unsanitary and not inhabitable/re-rentable. In order to replace same carpet quality will cost $9000. Lesser quality and replacement with some laminate will cost $6500. The security deposit from tenant is $3700 which they are expecting to be returned to them. They also tried to cover the pet damage by having carpet shampooed after they left, it obviously did not work. What are my rights as landlord?

Asked on September 19, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I suggets that you get some carpet expert to come out, inspect the carpets, take photos and write up a reports as what what the damages are and costs of replacement and/or repair since it seems that you are going to have a battle with the former tenants. This should be done as soon as possible.

Once completed, send a note to the former tenants with a copy of the report, costs of repair and debits from their security deposit with a demand for what is owed you due to the pet stain damage.

Keep a copy of the letter and documents for future use and need. You may need to consult with a landlord tenant attorney due to the fact that your claimed damages seem to be pushing the upper limit of small claims court based upon my experience in such matters.

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