Author Topic: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced  (Read 14842 times)

Bearded Man

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New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« on: September 03, 2015, 03:31:11 PM »
...in one room.

This young lady told me I need to have the carpet replaced due to pet odor. She said she thought I would replace it but didn't say anything when I showed her the house. Also not a peep during lease signing and property condition report.

Now she demands I either replace the carpet or give her deposit back so she can replace it. She said she is not happy there. Mind you, she also showed up 2 hours late to the move in inspection with an excuse that she got off work late, when she had told me the day prior that she was off that day. When I asked her upon finally arriving, if she got called in, she responded that she was hanging out with her sister in Seattle...not working. Hmmm...

Anyways, I explained to her that the carpet was recently cleaned, and that the smell (pretty faint) in the one room get's worse before it gets better as many posts on a google search showed. It's really not that bad anyways. I told her we need to wait until it dries and it should go away then, but if not, I have Nok-Out (recommended by another poster) that I will try next. If all else fails, I may elect to replace the carpet, but it's at my discretion.

She told me I should have withheld the deposit of previous tenant, yadayadayada. As much as I wanted to tell her that I don't take direction from people who have only rented rooms their entire lives and make $11 an hour, on how to manage my paid off property, a property I paid for at her age in full with no help, I simply told her that if she is unhappy, I will refund her money in full if she wants to move out right away. She has not responded since then, but if there is flack, I'm seriously considering just telling her that since she is on a month to month lease, I'm going to provide her with written 20 days notice to vacate by the end of the month. Between work and grad school, I really don't have time to deal with people who are poor, uneducated and think somehow because they say jump I must jump.

Thoughts? I may very well put this house on the market after this and put the money in O REIT. Slightly less return but waaaay less hassle, risk, and time spent dealing with low level idiots.

ncornilsen

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2015, 03:46:46 PM »
My only thought is that you will draw unnecessary animosity toward yourself by denigrating someone because they don't have the same means you do. 


Cpa Cat

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2015, 03:47:51 PM »
You admitted yourself that the house smells like cat pee. It made you angry enough to not ever want to rent to people with cats ever again.

Can you blame your tenant for feeling the same? Your tenant is actually living in the house with the cat pee. You just walked in there and smelled it for a couple of minutes and it riled you up.

I'm curious - did you hire a professional firm to clean the carpet or do it yourself? It's possible that a professional firm can offer an odor-neutralizing service for cheaper than replacing the carpet.

But as a tenant (and a cat lover), "Don't worry, it'll fade..." or "It's not that bad" would NOT be good enough for me when cat pee odor is concerned. I don't really think these things are good enough for you as a landlord, either, or you wouldn't have been so angry about it to begin with.

I think you're misdirecting your anger here. It's not your current tenant's fault that the prior tenant damaged the place. It's not reasonable to want her to live with cat pee, now. If you do evict her over this, are you going to be angry if the next person complains about the cat pee when it gets hot or something?

therethere

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2015, 03:57:34 PM »
So, in your other thread you admitted there is an issue and that you aren't sure how to fix it. The tenant cannot sleep or really even use the room that they are paying to rent. But all the sudden they are degenerate idiots because they want it fixed? On top of that because they rent rather than own they must be poor and uneducated? Apparently their notion that they are paying you rent to have a liveable useable space is crazy! But really, with your opinion on renters you should get out of the landlord game. We aren't all bad people just because we couldn't buy a home yet. I would be appalled if any prospective landlord had those thoughts about me. I've been renting for almost 14 years now. That apparently makes me a loser?

I think you just don't want to cop up to the issue and fix it... I can understand you are upset about having to shell out extra for a new carpet. But that's your problem not the renters. We pay a premium monthly so we don't have to deal with this crap!

Moving costs money. You aren't going to find all the issues in a move in inspection. If the issue is odor, it is going to smell different if you aired out the house before showing it compared to a house that's been closed up for days prior to move in. If I moved into a place with an issue I'm going to make it known you need to fix it. If you're taking your sweet time trying out new methods to see if it fixes the problem that's fine to an extent. But once it extends into a week or so you better damn well start taking out the $$$ to fix it.

FIRE me

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2015, 05:34:02 PM »
I think you're getting beat up a lot more than you deserve in this thread. Two hours late and lies about the reason, then making demands on you after her inspection and signing a lease adds up to her being a flake.

Still, if the smell does not settle down quickly, how much would one room of carpet and pad cost? Sounds like you are too busy to DIY, but maybe you already have a fix it guy who could knock it out in less than a day?

iamlindoro

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2015, 06:31:22 PM »
I don't ask this in an antagonistic way, but: what kind of a landlord do you want to be? One who does what is legally required, or one who does what is right?

You may (and it is a big may) be able to get away with not replacing the carpet, and you may even manage to keep the tenant. My humble opinion is that providing safe and clean housing is the minimum my conscience will allow, and a urine odor that survived a cleaning would be a no-go for me with a new tenant.

Whatever her other offenses, the tenant is right that the damage done is between you and the former tenant. A walk through is not a tool that allows you to absolve yourself of resolving issues, or as the means to go "gotcha!". As others have mentioned, the odor was sufficiently serious to merit an impassioned post on the Internet, so my impression would be that if my tenant felt similarly strong about it, that I would owe it to them to resolve it to *their* satisfaction.

More importantly, the volume and content of your posts in this subforum leave me with the impression that landlording impacts your life in a way that cannot be healthy. I won't make any recommendation based on that, just the observation of a stranger on the Internet.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2015, 06:37:19 PM by iamlindoro »

MrMoneyMaxwell

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2015, 06:48:58 PM »
I don't ask this in an antagonistic way, but: what kind of a landlord do you want to be? One who does what is legally required, or one who does what is right?

You may (and it is a big may) be able to get away with not replacing the carpet, and you may even manage to keep the tenant. My humble opinion is that providing safe and clean housing is the minimum my conscience will allow, and a urine odor that survived a cleaning would be a no-go for me with a new tenant.

Whatever her other offenses, the tenant is right that the damage done is between you and the former tenant. A walk through is not a tool that allows you to absolve yourself of resolving issues, or as the means to go "gotcha!". As others have mentioned, the odor was sufficiently serious to merit an impassioned post on the Internet, so my impression would be that if my tenant felt similarly strong about it, that I would owe it to them to resolve it to *their* satisfaction.

More importantly, the volume and content of your posts in this subforum leave me with the impression that landlording impacts your life in a way that cannot be healthy. I won't make any difference recommendation based on that, just the observation of a stranger on the Internet.

+1, exactly.

While in college I rented a house with a few friends. The previous tenants were veterinary students who had every indoor pet you could think of. The walkthrough went fine (they had a lot of candles burning, in retrospect). I noted on the sheet that there were a lot of stains, took pictures, etc.

When we moved in the whole house smelled like cat piss. Immediately sent an email (after trying to call for an entire day) telling our landlord (Douglas Hicks in Grandview, OH if anyone is curious. He's a prick and you'll find out why in a minute.) Being the kind hearted saint that I am, I went to Kroger, bought a bunch of carpet cleaner and rented a Rug Doctor. 23.8 hours later I returned said rug doctor (no late fees) and immediately sent him a photo copied receipt of the bill explaining why it was necessary.

3 months before vacating I told him we weren't going to sign on for another year. He gave me some heart wrenching story about how he thought we were these "great tenants" (this is after he let a live f'ing powerline lay across our neighbors lawn because he didn't want to pay a professional electrician to come and re-attach it to our house after a storm). Anyway, digression. I agreed that we could have an open house so he could have new people walk through. He brought some 12 packs of beer, and I cleaned up the shit storm that my roommates at the time were prone to leaving. It went well, I held my tongue like a proper adult.

Exactly 1 year to the day we moved out of that shit hole. 1 week later we received a "notice of summons for property damage", which included "extensive pet damage to the entire property". And enclosed was a bill for $1500 for "cleaning fees". As a side note, I have a terrible case of OCD. I spent the day before our official move out scrubbing the shitty laminate floor with bleach and a brush. This house was never cleaner in the 50 years it had been nailed together.

That was the end of my patience. My dogs are fully trained and crate trained and F that guy for thinking he's going to mess with a house full of veterans. We marched ourselves to legal services (a side note, if you're renting to college students... regardless of their age, they get free legal service from their university and it can royally mess you up if you're a landlord) and had the entire case expunged. The money he owed us from our security deposit, plus pet fee, plus non-refundable pet deposit, plus cleaning fee was refunded.

Now, I'm not sure what kind of landlord you are, if you're the type that lets their tenants wait by not answering the phone or texts or emails when there's no AC during the worst heatwave central Ohio has seen in 80 years, I don't pity you.

But if you're the dude that's like, "alright, I'll be over in 6 minutes with my tools." You're ok in my book.

I forget why I wrote this. It's been a long and rough week and this whole landlords trying to find loopholes thing really just hit a sour note.

justajane

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2015, 06:59:47 PM »
Seriously, Bearded Man. Like Mr.MoneyMaxwell, you're giving me flashbacks to my own nightmare renting experience which swore me off of renting ever again. Treated rudely for three years, accused of all kinds of random damage that I didn't cause, threatened to be sued, seized security deposit for no damned reason...the list goes on and on.

Your tone just reeks of contempt towards your tenants in all your posts, both on this thread and others. You are almost guaranteeing that you will have unpleasant rental experiences moving forward. Your adversarial nature is not going to do you any favors.

From my point of view, one of the best reasons to buy is so that you don't have the potential to have a landlord from hell. For the record, my landlord from hell was Don Woods in St. Louis. Don't anyone rent from that bastard. 

Oh, and for the record, lingering cat piss is the most disgusting smell known to man. If the apartment smells like that, it is not a habitable place until you fix it.

Cpa Cat

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2015, 07:14:10 PM »
...Oh, and for the record, lingering cat piss is the most disgusting smell known to man. If the apartment smells like that, it is not a habitable place until you fix it.

Yeah, I mean, this is definitely possible too, if it's really so bad that no human can live in the property while the smell is present. The OP more or less asserts that is not the case, but I'm no expert on exactly how bad cat urine is in terms of preventing human habitation.

It's pretty gross, frankly. And it's not exactly a normal bi-product of cat ownership either. Most of with cats would not tolerate living in a reeking, cat-urine house. It is INCREDIBLY noticeable when a cat pees outside of the litter box. This is because most cat litters have odor-neutralizing products to assist with odor.

A simple carpet cleaning can help - or it can do nothing. Sometimes, it can make it worse because it moistens and collects the urine and spreads it around the carpet. For this reason, you're supposed to use specialty products for neutralizing cat urine.

Furthermore, since cats don't normally pee outside of a litter box unless there's a problem/reason of some sort, the urine can often be even more strongly smelling than normal cat urine. This is the case for un-neutered males who are spraying, or un-spayed cats trying to attract a mate, or sick cats who have other medical problems.

justajane

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2015, 07:17:32 PM »
I just looked. You probably wouldn't be surprised by how many cat piss memes there are.


Another Reader

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2015, 07:19:42 PM »
Replace the carpet and pad in the one room and be done with it.

My impression from your posts is you are not cut out to be a landlord.  Contempt for your customers, the tenants, does not serve you well when you are in the rental business.

Bearded Man

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2015, 07:29:11 PM »
I didn't read the responses, sorry, I headed out to take a sniff and fix a leaky sink. Oddly enough, the room she was complaining about smells great now. Weird, a few days ago there was a faint smell of cat urin by the door, but it had just been cleaned and was still wet.

Today, hours after she demanded the carpet be replaced, I went in there and the place smells like roses. Not even a hint of cat pee. While my guy is installing new faucets, the tenant goes outside, is sitting in her car texting, having a good time for about an hour. As soon as I go out she is crying acting like a little delicate bird. She never did text me back about my offer for her to move out, but I took the opportunity to discuss with her and make it clear that there must be some confusion, because hours ago she was demanding I replace the carpet because of an unbearable cat pee odor, and when I show up hours later it smells like roses in there. Literally, no pet smell, just smells fine.

The tenant is an attractive young girl who I think is used to getting her way, but I'm not obligated to rent to her. She is being unreasonable and in no position to demand her deposit back to replace the carpet. The carpet does not need replacing, it doesn't smell since it dried, not even a bit, and if it did need replacing, I would be the one to direct that work not her. Furthermore, her deposit is not there for that anyways.

She is imagining any odor at this point. My point about her income was that I don't take direction from uneducated, low income people. She was trying to tell me I shouldn't have done this with old tenants and should have done that instead, etc. Mighty big talk from someone who has rented rooms her entire life and can barely afford to drive a beater car.

Her lack of being able to show up to appointments on time, be honest, etc. is very apparent at this point, and I will cut her lose next time she does this crap. There is a reason people like her are in that lot in life and it's usually not by choice but due to lack of capability. I realize on this forum there are a lot of bleeding heart liberals who like to believe that everyone is equal, but the reality of it is we are NOT all equal.


Bearded Man

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2015, 07:31:21 PM »
Bearded Man lives in Washington so I reference Washington law in this post.

In Washington, residential tenants enjoy two separate warranties of habitability, and the landlord must comply with both at all times. The first warranty is codified at RCW 59.18.060 and is defined broadly by certain enumerated items. The second warranty is the common law warranty of habitability, which still exists in Washington separate and apart from the statutory one. Landis & Landis Construction v. Nations, 286 P.3d 979 (Wa Ca App 2012), 8-16. The common law warranty of habitability is open-ended and is not limited to an enumerated list of items.

Under the statutory warranty, the landlord does not appear to be required to purge cat urine smell from the carpets unless cat urine would render the premises unfit for human habitation (which the OP denies). Among other things, the landlord is required to keep the premises in as good condition as they were or should have been at the commencement of the tenancy. RCW 59.18.060(5). However, the failure of the tenant to object to the cat urine smell, even though it would have been obvious, is probably fatal to the tenant relying on that provision unless the property is unfit for human habitation.

As mentioned, however, the discussion does not end there because tenants also enjoy an open-ended common law warranty of habitability which is not limited to the items mentioned in RCW 59.18.060. It was unclear whether this second warranty actually existed until the 2012 case cited above, and as a result, it appears to be shrouded in some mystery as to what items are covered by it.

If the urine was not noticeable at the time of the walkthrough, then the tenant has a very strong argument for the landlord to repair it at his expense. If it was definitely noticeable, however, the landlord may have the stronger argument under Washington law, but it could go either way depending on how bad the urine smell is.

The next issue, however, is the legality of Bearded Man's proposed plan to "provide [the tenant] with written 20 days notice to vacate by the end of the month" in retaliation for her complaint about the cat urine and request for repair of same. That proposed plan may be unlawful. According to RCW 59.18.240(2), "the landlord shall not take or threaten to take reprisals or retaliatory action against the tenant because of any good faith and lawful ... [a]ssertions ... by the tenant of his or her rights and remedies". This statute protects mere "assertions" of rights, so long as the assertion is made in good faith and is lawful (which I take to mean the tenant does not break any laws in making the assertion). On a strict reading, it appears that even incorrect assertions of rights are protected, if made in good faith and lawfully. The tenant may not have framed her complaints about the carpet as an assertion of rights, but that's basically what they are. There is some risk in asking her to vacate without having a persuasive non-retaliatory reason for the request.

Please note that this is only general information about Washington landlord-tenant law and this post cannot be relied on as advice about any particular situation. In particular, the OP may have omitted relevant facts that could affect this analysis.

Cathy, are you really an attorney or lawyer? (they are not the same). If you are I appreciate your posts on these matters. Your posts are actually usually fact based and unemotional, and frankly, the most contributing posts in these situations, as the legal aspect of this is what matters, not what some random people think.

iamlindoro

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2015, 09:02:54 PM »
Please advise in the future if differing viewpoints are not welcome. Thanks.

neophyte

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2015, 09:41:28 PM »
Thoughts? I may very well put this house on the market after this and put the money in O REIT. Slightly less return but waaaay less hassle, risk, and time spent dealing with low level idiots.

Please do this for your tenants' sake.

Argyle

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2015, 10:37:12 PM »
Her character and possible moral failings are irrelevant, as I see it, to whether the carpet smells like cat pee.  Having tried to rip a room of the smell from only one instance of cat pee, I can well believe that the carpet does still smell of it.  It is long-lasting and almost impossible to get rid of.  Nature's Miracle and all those enzyme cleaners make very little difference.  A friend who bought a house that turned out to have the same problem had to take out the floor down to the sub-floor to get rid of the smell.  A cursory sniff may not identify it.  Sometimes I'd think the odor in my room was gone.  But come another damp day and the smell would be back as strong as ever.  I find it very plausible that the tenant does indeed detect a strong smell of cat pee, as well as that a brief sniff on your part would fail to identify it.  And anyway, what other motivation could she have for wanting the carpet replaced?  Having a carpet replaced is a hassle for a tenant, and it's not as if a new carpet is so fabulous and glamorous compared to an existing one that everyone is trying to trick one room's worth of new carpet out of their landlords.

My vote is that you should go ahead and replace the carpet now and treat and clean the area underneath the carpt as well, because the urine has probably gotten into the floorboards as well.  The next tenant will have the same complaint, and the one after that, and you'll save yourself a good deal of hassle and energy just dealing with it now.

Blatant

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2015, 11:41:49 PM »
Bearded man: As an adult male human who doesn't rent but who does have a brain, I've read several of your posts. I'll say what others have been hinting at: You seem like a dick. If you don't want opinions, why are you posting? So you can show us how awesome you are? You win!!

Now back to your regularly scheduled complaining.

clifp

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #17 on: September 04, 2015, 12:43:44 AM »

Quote
I didn't read the responses, sorry, I headed out to take a sniff and fix a leaky sink.

I find that to be pretty rude when it is on a thread you started it.

On behalf of your fellow  landlords, please sell.  Landlords get a bad enough rap that we don't need folks like you making our reputation worse.

MMMaybe

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #18 on: September 04, 2015, 01:17:25 AM »
The thing with cat pee is that the smell does come and go to some extent. It gets worse when it is hot.

My advice to you is cut your losses and replace the carpet. This is something that the previous tenant should have rectified. It will not get better and you should not expect your tenant to put up with it.

I do agree with others that maybe you are not cut out to be a landlord. People actually  live in houses and there will be wear and tear and damage. I am really tired of landlords that expect us awful tenants (who pay the costs of your property empire) to exit the property with zero evidence of ever having lived there. Its a business not a family heirloom.

powskier

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #19 on: September 04, 2015, 01:18:43 AM »
Cat pee ruins carpets and pads, smell cannot ever be removed IMO.
If you made a mistake by not having previous tenant pay for damages their cat did , it is your own fault. Own it.

In the big picture replacing a carpet is cheap, although personally I have found that vinyl laminate is cheaper in long run along with the suggestion that tenant buy their own rug, or runners to protect floors from damage and protect their deposit. This kind of straightforward dealing has been a win/win.
If you have misgivings about renting to this person you should give her a 30 day notice.
Personally I would rather keep a place vacant than rent to a "problem" tenant, don't ask me how I learned this..............

So far , unsolicited, I have had about 75% of my tenants tell me I am the best landlord they have ever had. When they share their horror stories of some landlords I can see that is actually not a very high bar.
As in all things I believe it is important to do one's best as much as possible, same applies to being a landlord and it pays off in both $ and quality of life in the long run.
I'm what you would describe as "a bleeding heart liberal" but to correct your  mischaracterization I don't believe that everyone is equal, only that everyone be treated with equal respect. Big difference there.

FrugalToque

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #20 on: September 04, 2015, 06:34:15 AM »
I really don't have time to deal with people who are poor, uneducated and think somehow because they say jump I must jump.

1.  If you can't deal with poor, uneducated people, you should consider the purchase of an upscale property in an upscale neighbourhood allowing you to set rent so high it keeps out the riff raff.

2.  Generally speaking, it's only the poor, uneducated people who - because of their low income - are willing/forced to deal with apartments that smell of cat urine and have similar problems.

Honestly, I don't have time to deal with people who judge people based on their income.  That's far too narrowing and prejudicial.

Toque.

MissStache

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #21 on: September 04, 2015, 07:19:37 AM »
You sound like a slumlord who hates being a slumlord.  Maybe if you want better tenants you shouldn't rent places that are full of cat pee and then get angry because the tenants are complaining of it smelling like cat pee. 
« Last Edit: September 04, 2015, 07:40:12 AM by MissStache »

mskyle

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #22 on: September 04, 2015, 07:29:26 AM »
You sound like a slumlord who hates being a slumlord.  Maybe if you want better tenants you shouldn't rent places that a full of cat pee and then get angry because then tenants are complaining of it smelling like cat pee.

Yup. If you rent shitty properties, you're going to get shitty tenants. If you're an asshole to your tenants on top of that, you're going to get even shittier tenants.

I have been renting since I graduated college 16 years ago (and given that I've moved ~10 times in that period, including 4 relocations, I think it was the right choice for me, financially speaking). I have a great credit score and a healthy amount of invested assets. I have never had a late rent payment, nor have I ever left any damage beyond a few nail holes in the wall.

Bearded Man, I would not rent from you in a million years.

undercover

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #23 on: September 04, 2015, 08:04:42 AM »
Bearded Man's business plan: "Buy properties I don't like in places I don't like, then rent to people I don't like". Sounds like a sure winner to me.

I know you're not into being politically correct, but I think the word (un)educated might as well be tossed out of the English language with as much misuse as it sees. Just because you graduate college, get a well-paying job in Megacorp and then buy property, doesn't make you any better or more "educated" than anyone else. You obviously have a lot to learn.

You may have a diversified investment portfolio, but you'd do well to diversify your general thinking.

I think this pretty much sums up BM's (elitist) mentality:

Quote from: Bearded Man
Thoughts?
Quote from: Bearded Man
I didn't read the responses, sorry, I headed out to take a sniff and fix a leaky sink.
Sniff? Or Snort?
Quote from: Bearded Man
the most contributing posts in these situations...[are] not what some random people think
« Last Edit: September 04, 2015, 08:12:52 AM by undercover »

the_gastropod

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #24 on: September 04, 2015, 08:29:27 AM »
My point about her income was that I don't take direction from uneducated, low income people...Mighty big talk from someone who has rented rooms her entire life and can barely afford to drive a beater car.
...
There is a reason people like her are in that lot in life and it's usually not by choice but due to lack of capability. I realize on this forum there are a lot of bleeding heart liberals who like to believe that everyone is equal, but the reality of it is we are NOT all equal.

Dude. You are quite the privileged jackass. Believe it or not, the U.S. isn't a meritocracy. Judging people based on their income is about as accurate as judging them based on what day of the week they were born.

Really, it just sounds like you're being cheap. How many months of this woman's rent will it take before the replaced carpet is paid for? One? Two, maybe? C'mon.

NoNonsenseLandlord

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #25 on: September 04, 2015, 08:39:35 AM »
How old is the carpet?  If it is more than 5 years old, replace it.

If it's less than 5 years old, and you still have the previous tenants deposit, use that to replace the carpet.

Let her out of the lease is also an option.

ioseftavi

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #26 on: September 04, 2015, 09:05:19 AM »
How old is the carpet?  If it is more than 5 years old, replace it.

If it's less than 5 years old, and you still have the previous tenants deposit, use that to replace the carpet.

Let her out of the lease is also an option.

BeardedMan, your decision making pattern is leading you a path you don't sound suited for... 

If you want to manage low value rentals for maximum cashflow, a surefire way to do that is to be a 'slumlord': rent to people who are poor and can't rent elsewhere, nickel-and-dime them on things like late fees etc, and be an absolute skinflint when it comes to maintaining your properties - do the barest minimum you have to.  Your properties will cashflow like crazy, but you'd better be prepared to deal with the most difficult tenants and neighborhoods that the real estate game has to offer.  It sounds like you don't have the personality to make this work.

By the way, before you write off everyone's advice, Eric / NoNonsenseLandlord owns a relatively large amount of property, makes serious money doing it, and takes his job as a landlord seriously (his blog is here, and it's excellent).  AnotherReader (who replied in one of your other threads) is also professionally involved in real estate, if I recall, and has been for decades. 

These aren't idiots giving you advice.  These are people who manage investment properties well and make money doing it.

Jakejake

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #27 on: September 04, 2015, 09:55:00 AM »
I don't have advice, I'm just very disturbed at the thought of people having to live in places that reek of cat urine. Like others pointed out, the smell comes and goes, sometimes for years.

Fix the problem - whether it benefits this tenant or the next, it's disgusting to make people live like that. People don't magically deserve to breathe cat urine in their living space because they are in some perceived untouchable caste on account of not going to college or because they were late to a meeting.

NoraLenderbee

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #28 on: September 04, 2015, 12:37:03 PM »
Replacing the carpet and replacing the tenant are two separate problems. If you and the tenant aren't happy with the situation, you can refund her deposit and let her out of the lease, then find a different tenant who doesn't have red flags.

As others have said, the smell is very likely to be a problem for other tenants as well. The class of tenant who will accept a smelly room are likely not to be the class you prefer to deal with.

Take the advice of other LLs and replace the carpet and pad.

Quote
I realize on this forum there are a lot of bleeding heart liberals who like to believe that everyone is equal, but the reality of it is we are NOT all equal.

Think of it as market forces at work.

Letj

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #29 on: September 04, 2015, 06:29:15 PM »
...in one room.

This young lady told me I need to have the carpet replaced due to pet odor. She said she thought I would replace it but didn't say anything when I showed her the house. Also not a peep during lease signing and property condition report.

Now she demands I either replace the carpet or give her deposit back so she can replace it. She said she is not happy there. Mind you, she also showed up 2 hours late to the move in inspection with an excuse that she got off work late, when she had told me the day prior that she was off that day. When I asked her upon finally arriving, if she got called in, she responded that she was hanging out with her sister in Seattle...not working. Hmmm...

Anyways, I explained to her that the carpet was recently cleaned, and that the smell (pretty faint) in the one room get's worse before it gets better as many posts on a google search showed. It's really not that bad anyways. I told her we need to wait until it dries and it should go away then, but if not, I have Nok-Out (recommended by another poster) that I will try next. If all else fails, I may elect to replace the carpet, but it's at my discretion.

She told me I should have withheld the deposit of previous tenant, yadayadayada. As much as I wanted to tell her that I don't take direction from people who have only rented rooms their entire lives and make $11 an hour, on how to manage my paid off property, a property I paid for at her age in full with no help, I simply told her that if she is unhappy, I will refund her money in full if she wants to move out right away. She has not responded since then, but if there is flack, I'm seriously considering just telling her that since she is on a month to month lease, I'm going to provide her with written 20 days notice to vacate by the end of the month. Between work and grad school, I really don't have time to deal with people who are poor, uneducated and think somehow because they say jump I must jump.

Thoughts? I may very well put this house on the market after this and put the money in O REIT. Slightly less return but waaaay less hassle, risk, and time spent dealing with low level idiots.

You know what you're acting like a jerk. One of my tenant left my house wreaking of cat urine and filth. It appeared that this tenant had mental illness. She kept like 20 dogs and cats in the house and lived in this filth. When I found out, we evicted her.  Not only did I replace the carpet, I ripped out the subfloor and installed new ones just to make sure that another tenant did not have to endure this smell no matter how faint.

TheOldestYoungMan

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #30 on: September 04, 2015, 07:50:05 PM »
Bearded Man lives in Washington so I reference Washington law in this post.

In Washington, residential tenants enjoy two separate warranties of habitability, and the landlord must comply with both at all times. The first warranty is codified at RCW 59.18.060 and is defined broadly by certain enumerated items. The second warranty is the common law warranty of habitability, which still exists in Washington separate and apart from the statutory one. Landis & Landis Construction v. Nations, 286 P.3d 979 (Wa Ca App 2012), 8-16. The common law warranty of habitability is open-ended and is not limited to an enumerated list of items.

Under the statutory warranty, the landlord does not appear to be required to purge cat urine smell from the carpets unless cat urine would render the premises unfit for human habitation (which the OP denies). Among other things, the landlord is required to keep the premises in as good condition as they were or should have been at the commencement of the tenancy. RCW 59.18.060(5). However, the failure of the tenant to object to the cat urine smell, even though it would have been obvious, is probably fatal to the tenant relying on that provision unless the property is unfit for human habitation.

As mentioned, however, the discussion does not end there because tenants also enjoy an open-ended common law warranty of habitability which is not limited to the items mentioned in RCW 59.18.060. It was unclear whether this second warranty actually existed until the 2012 case cited above, and as a result, it appears to be shrouded in some mystery as to what items are covered by it.

If the urine was not noticeable at the time of the walkthrough, then the tenant has a very strong argument for the landlord to repair it at his expense. If it was definitely noticeable, however, the landlord may have the stronger argument under Washington law, but it could go either way depending on how bad the urine smell is.

The next issue, however, is the legality of Bearded Man's proposed plan to "provide [the tenant] with written 20 days notice to vacate by the end of the month" in retaliation for her complaint about the cat urine and request for repair of same. That proposed plan may be unlawful. According to RCW 59.18.240(2), "the landlord shall not take or threaten to take reprisals or retaliatory action against the tenant because of any good faith and lawful ... [a]ssertions ... by the tenant of his or her rights and remedies". This statute protects mere "assertions" of rights, so long as the assertion is made in good faith and is lawful (which I take to mean the tenant does not break any laws in making the assertion). On a strict reading, it appears that even incorrect assertions of rights are protected, if made in good faith and lawfully. The tenant may not have framed her complaints about the carpet as an assertion of rights, but that's basically what they are. There is some risk in asking her to vacate without having a persuasive non-retaliatory reason for the request.

Please note that this is only general information about Washington landlord-tenant law and this post cannot be relied on as advice about any particular situation. In particular, the OP may have omitted relevant facts that could affect this analysis.

This post was epic.  This thread is pretty harsh.  I'll say as I read the OP, and I haven't read any of his other threads, it just came across as someone frustrated with a difficult customer.  On the one hand, a solution is to get out of the customer service business, on the other hand, some days are harder than others.  With a little grit and grin you can get through it.

I'm glad to hear the odor seems to have gone away.  The first house I ever bought had a pet urine issue, didn't seem so bad while I was looking at the house, I figured a little de-odorizing and a carpet cleaning would fix it.  Most miserable 3 years of my life.  I finally broke down and replaced all the carpet after I moved out, in preparation to rent it out.  I couldn't believe how much better it smelled after I fixed it, or how little it cost to replace all the carpet.  I did a whole 3,000 sq. ft. house for like $1200 bucks in a single day.  I was thinking it would cost way more, which is why I didn't do it sooner.

Nate R

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #31 on: September 04, 2015, 08:16:02 PM »
BeardedMan: Makes $11/hour but can rent your 300k house? Are you renting a $300k house for <$630/mo? Not asking for specifics on your tenant's income, but it seems like the signs were there that she may not have been the tenant you desired. Inconsistent, late, etc. Did you creepily demand to look at her last place to determine whether she's worthy of renting from you?

From my perspective as a landlord, something's not adding up here. Replace the carpet and move on.



Embok

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #32 on: September 05, 2015, 09:52:22 AM »
Replace the carpet, or better yet, tear it out and put in more durable and easier to clean flooring. 
I hate carpet in apartments- it's a trap for dirt and dust.

I bought a poorly maintained building and have slowly been ripping out the old and truly disgusting carpet and restoring the old hardwood floors -- and putting a good solid polyurethane on top.  (I use a 25 year rated linoleum type flooring in the kitchens.). This has increased the value of the building, the class of tenants I get and the rents, and makes changes between tenants easy -- it's quite difficult for tenants to mess up hardwood floors, and any damage is easy to see in time to take it out of their security deposit.

Zamboni

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #33 on: September 05, 2015, 11:21:49 AM »
The most useful thing in this thread is the link to Eric's blog.

Beyond that, all I can add is my litmus test: I will not own rental property if the condition is not suitable for ME to live in it. And, while I am certainly not the most fussy person in the world about cosmetic things, I don't like the smell of cat pee . . . most people do not. So, if cat pee became a problem in one of my units, I would replace the carpet.

Just my $0.02.

clarkfan1979

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #34 on: September 05, 2015, 12:27:18 PM »
I would ask her to move out and replace the carpet after she moves out. Why did you rent to her if there were red flags? Someone with red flags gets about 10 seconds of my time. I try to show them the door as quickly as possible.

NoNonsenseLandlord

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #35 on: September 06, 2015, 10:16:56 PM »
By the way, before you write off everyone's advice, Eric / NoNonsenseLandlord owns a relatively large amount of property, makes serious money doing it, and takes his job as a landlord seriously (his blog is here, and it's excellent).  AnotherReader (who replied in one of your other threads) is also professionally involved in real estate, if I recall, and has been for decades. 

These aren't idiots giving you advice.  These are people who manage investment properties well and make money doing it.

The most useful thing in this thread is the link to Eric's blog.

Thank you for all the mentions!  I do make a decent amount from my rentals, but providing high-quality housing to high-quality renters is a sweet spot.  The other sweet spot is low-quality housing to low-quality renters (slumlord).

Keep the faith.  Being a landlord is easy if you understand your customers and their motivations.

Jakejake

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #36 on: September 08, 2015, 07:05:10 PM »
I like lists.

1. Cat pee is gross.

This is my favorite post opener since the beginning of the internet.

Bearded Man

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #37 on: September 08, 2015, 07:35:19 PM »
I like lists.

1. Cat pee is gross. There is nothing grosser than cat pee. It may hide for a while but IT WILL ALWAYS COME BACK. And it is gross. Gross gross grooooosssss.

2. Carpet is cheap. I just ordered new carpeting for three rooms, about 500 sq. feet, the super high end "Lifeproof" kind from Home Depot with a super fancy new Nike pad to go with it, total cost under $2,000 including installation and removal of the old, nasty, (non-cat-pee) stained, and ripped one. I'd bet you could replace one room with a less high-end option and have the cost covered in a less than month's rent.

3. Landlords have a reputation for being assholes. In many cases, this is undeserved. In your case, it's not.

4. Tenants are human beings too. No matter what their income level or "ghetto trash" status, they are paying for and deserve to live in a place that doesn't smell like cat piss.

5. Driving a beater car is a good thing; why is this even relevant? We are Mustachians after all.

6. You seem really angry and stressed out about this.

7. REITs sound like a great option for you -- getting out of the landlord business will lower your blood pressure, will increase the general reputational well-being of the landlord community, and will save your albeit flaky tenant from a life of urinary asphyxiation. Win-win-win!

So the tenant demands to get her deposit back so that she can replace carpet for a house that 1) she doesn't own 2) when there is documented evidence all over the internet that the smell comes out when carpet cleaning and it goes away once dry. 3) when I stop by there a mere hours after the conversation, the house, especially the room she was talking about, smelled completely fine. You couldn't even tell there were pets!

So the tenant being a princess demanding new carpet in her bedroom is golden. My wanting to wait until the carpet dries before making a decision, and then finding out hours later she was lying, that what little smell there was is gone, then putting your ass as well as her in your place on the facts, is being an asshole? Ok bud...I guess in your world of little common sense and profound lack of thought you are right.

The tenant who has never even lived in a house before, let alone been a landlord, can make things up, exaggerate, and flat out lie, telling me how to run my business. Up is down and left is right. I forgot I was surrounded by liberals.

Seems when she got caught in a lie she piped down, and I haven't heard a peep from her, and she did not take me up on my offer to move out. Fact of the matter is she got busted trying to get something that wasn't needed, and she is in no position to tell me what to do.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2015, 07:38:04 PM by Bearded Man »

Bearded Man

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #38 on: September 08, 2015, 07:41:30 PM »
BeardedMan: Makes $11/hour but can rent your 300k house? Are you renting a $300k house for <$630/mo? Not asking for specifics on your tenant's income, but it seems like the signs were there that she may not have been the tenant you desired. Inconsistent, late, etc. Did you creepily demand to look at her last place to determine whether she's worthy of renting from you?

From my perspective as a landlord, something's not adding up here. Replace the carpet and move on.

I own many houses, the one she is renting is not 300K...

Her job pays $11 an hour (though she gets all kinds of social security checks apparently according to her BG check).

Wait, are you that moron who has been following me around saying it is creepy to see how people who rent from me live? Got it, common sense and protecting my investment is bad. Blindly renting to people and throwing caution to the wind is good. Must be another liberal.

iamlindoro

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #39 on: September 08, 2015, 07:44:01 PM »
So the tenant demands to get her deposit back so that she can replace carpet for a house that 1) she doesn't own 2) when there is documented evidence all over the internet that the smell comes out when carpet cleaning and it goes away once dry. 3) when I stop by there a mere hours after the conversation, the house, especially the room she was talking about, smelled completely fine. You couldn't even tell there were pets!

So the tenant being a princess demanding new carpet in her bedroom is golden. My wanting to wait until the carpet dries before making a decision, and then finding out hours later she was lying, that what little smell there was is gone, then putting your ass as well as her in your place on the facts, is being an asshole? Ok bud...I guess in your world of little common sense and profound lack of thought you are right.

The tenant who has never even lived in a house before, let alone been a landlord, can make things up, exaggerate, and flat out lie, telling me how to run my business. Up is down and left is right. I forgot I was surrounded by liberals.

Seems when she got caught in a lie she piped down, and I haven't heard a peep from her, and she did not take me up on my offer to move out. Fact of the matter is she got busted trying to get something that wasn't needed, and she is in no position to tell me what to do.

Look, I don't care what you do with your property- But everything you have to see seems incredibly hostile. I think we're all still trying to figure out what in the world your tenant stands to gain from getting you to replace the carpet in a single room.  What could it possibly be?  You know that there was a strong urine odor at one time.  It was enough that you posted several threads on the topic.  It obviously bothered your tenant too, soo... how does she win if you just replace the carpet?  What's the end game?

In the end, stuff that should just be "part of the job" when it comes to landlording seems to fill you with hostility.  Surely you can see that it's not a healthy way to deal with things, right?  Heck, you don't even seem to like anyone here very much, but you keep coming back to spar.  I just don't get it.

Bearded Man

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #40 on: September 08, 2015, 07:49:28 PM »
Oh I forgot to mention, she was two hours late to the appointment. When she finally returned my calls and texts, she came up with the excuse of having gotten off work late. Which I thought was odd since she told me she had the day off when I spoke to her yesterday.

So when she gets there two hours late, I ask her if she got called into work. She said no, she was partying with her sister in Seattle. Crickets...


Left

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #41 on: September 08, 2015, 08:06:24 PM »
Oh I forgot to mention, she was two hours late to the appointment. When she finally returned my calls and texts, she came up with the excuse of having gotten off work late. Which I thought was odd since she told me she had the day off when I spoke to her yesterday.

So when she gets there two hours late, I ask her if she got called into work. She said no, she was partying with her sister in Seattle. Crickets...
so? that doesn't mean the smell isn't there... you don't get to set the schedule of your tenant... If I were her, I'd just sue you to get it fixed, you are required to make it habitable... since it is a health concern...

swick

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Re: New tenant demanding carpet be replaced
« Reply #42 on: September 08, 2015, 08:13:53 PM »
MOD NOTE: After multiple complaints about this thread it would seem that you are all going around in circles and violating the forum rules (of which we have very few) again and again. Locking now