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Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #1 
I just had the tenant from hell move out (I'm sure many have far worse stories, but it's been hell for me) and it appears I'm going to have to take him to court to get all the damage paid for.  I'm hoping for any tips some here might have to ensure I've got everything lined up as best I can.  Yes, I know that even if I prevail I may never see a dime but I have to at least try.  [smile] 

Background: Tenant had an indoor dog that was approved.  Lease has provisions that state tenant is responsible for any damage caused by pets or cleanup that may be required.  Tenant gave notice he was moving out and said he was having carpets cleaned (also required by lease).  Went to check on things to see what needed to be done before new tenant could move in and found the house had a horrible stench of pet urine.  Called a respected carpet cleaning company in town I've done business with for years to see if maybe it just needed a better cleaning.  He took one look (and smell) and said he'd never seen a carpet so damaged by pet urine.  Further, he said he wouldn't even try to clean it and whoever the tenant hired should have known better than to try to clean it (something about a steam cleaner just making things worse in such cases and spreading the urine throughout).  Based on his 30+ years in the business, he said the only way to get rid of the urine smell was to have all the affected carpet ripped out and replaced.  I have this scheduled to take place next week, to the tune of around $4,000.  Contacted the former tenant and of course they deny everything, saying their dog never peed on the carpet and even if it did, my beef is with the carpet cleaner they hired if he didn't do a good enough job.  So it looks like small claims court is in my future.  Here is what I am assembling to present to the judge:

- Copy of lease signed by former tenant
- Statement from tenant previous to this one that he never had indoor pets, nor did the house/carpets have any urine smells when he lived there
- My own statement that I inspected the house before tenant moved in and there was no urine smell
- Statement from carpet cleaner I hired that states he inspected house and why he wouldn't/couldn't clean it and stating why he felt carpet needed to be replaced.  Added bonus - He's also the guy I hired to clean the carpets before this tenant moved in so he also states he inspected and cleaned the carpets prior to tenant moving in and knows there was no urine smell to the carpets at that time. 
- Statement from neighbor that I asked to walk through the house with me to see if they noticed the smell as badly as I did (they state it smelled like homeless people had been living there).
- Written quotes from two different local companies on the cost to replace the affected carpet

I've been told that about 90% of people in such cases never show up to court, so maybe this is all a lot of wasted time, but I wanted to have as much evidence lined up as I can in case he does.  If there are other things people feel I should have, I'd appreciate advice. 


Posts: 314
Reply with quote  #2 
u should be set....bring pics
gl on collecting

Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #3 
Thanks for the reply.  It's good to know I'm assembling the proper evidence.  I know it's a long shot on collecting, but the guy still lives in town and also has a full time job.  I'm hopeful that if I can get a ruling it won't be a tremendous amount of additional work to go down the path of wage garnishment.  I guess we'll see what happens. 

Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #4 
I would see take the pic if you need to prove.
Moving Consultant

Posts: 3,809
Reply with quote  #5 
Make sure you only ask for the depreciated cost of the carpet.  Even though they ruined the carpet, you can only ask for its VALUE.  The value of the carpet using depreciation is this formula:

7 years (the maximum amount of time the IRS says you can depreciate carpet) - the age of the carpet at move out = the remaining life of the carpet.
Take the remaining life of the carpet and divide it by the 7 years to get the percentage of money they owe (the value of that carpet).
Multiply this percentage by the cost to replace the carpet to get the dollar amount.

As an example:
Tenant ruins carpet that was only 2 years old when she moved out.  It costs $3000 to replace.
7-2= 5 years of life left in the carpet
5/7=71.4% (The carpet has 71.4% of its value left.)
$3000 x .714 = $2142 The amount the tenant is responsible for.

You cant charge the tenant with the cost of new carpet if the carpet wasn't new when they lived there.  Using this formula will show the judge that you are only asking for what is fair. 
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