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novice

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Posts: 4
Reply with quote  #1 
The townhouse that I help rent out typically did not allow pets due to the wear and tear that they may cause on the property. So of course you know where this is going...the most recent time it was rented out tenants were allowed to have one cat (for which they paid a small non refundable pet deposit).  Low and behold the tenants had at least two cats and a neighbor said they had kittens (they also left the cats behind).  Now that they have moved out and I am making necessary arrangements for someone else to live there I discovered there are lots of FLEAS there.  And guess what...I'm allergic-had to go to the doctor and all.  So my question for someone familiar with regulations in the state of Maryland is "Can I deduct extermination costs from their deposit"?  They actually left the unit fairly clean, but I can't even go in to make/ supervise repairs because of the infestation.  What can I deduct for having more than the specified number of pets?  What can I deduct for hardships related to the flea infestation and lack of pet hygiene?  I would consider a flea infestation not expected or normal 'wear and tear' of people having animals.  Lesson learned for everyone else...always stick to the original plan!
OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,812
Reply with quote  #2 
Yes, you can charge for extermination of fleas from the pets.  That is not normal wear & tear.  The easiest way for an individual to rid the place of these pests is to either call in the exterminator (multiple treatments will be required 10-14 days apart to kill newly hatching fleas), or to turn off all gas pilots in the house, set off one bug bomb per room and leave the house closed up.  Repeat every 7 days for the next 2 weeks.  Vaccuum well.

You cannot charge them for having more than the specified pets because you can't prove they did.  You would have had to catch them in the act at the time to charge them whatever penalty was included in the lease (or to issue a perform or quit notice to get rid of the extras).  Nor can you deduct for hardships, doctor's visits, etc.  It is not the tenant's fault that you are allergic.  It IS their fault for allowing the pets to have fleas.
novice

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Posts: 4
Reply with quote  #3 

Thank you for taking time to answer my questions about the fleas. I have one more.  Am I able to deduct or charge anything because the unit is uninhabitable (and unable to be worked on) for at least two weeks while the flea situation is being handled?

OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,812
Reply with quote  #4 

That's a little more of a gray area.  Since you had allowed pets in there, I'm not sure if you could charge for loss of use.  Having fleas is a common problem after having pets in the unit.  (Add this to your pet addendum - if they leave the unit uninhabitable because of a flea infestation, they will be charged for that period.)  Personally, I would charge them since they left the unit in such a condition as to be uninhabitable.  You were unable to rent it due to the condition they left the unit.  If you do though, be sure to document this thoroughly.  You may not be able to do this if your state is pro-tenant.

novice

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Posts: 4
Reply with quote  #5 

You seem to know so much about the landlord business.  If only I had came to the site sooner.  How can I find out if the state of MD will allow me receive compensation the unit being uninhabitable due to poor pet hygiene/fleas?  Thanks so much!  You've giving me a lot of great information to consider as I'm trying to work through this unexpected hurdle.

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