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We paid a $250 deposit to rent a house, the landlord knew we had 2 big dogs and didn't charge a pet deposit,

The landlord looked at the house once we had our stuff out and the carpet was dirty and had a couple pulls in it from the dogs and had us post date a check to her for $500 to replace the carpet. Is this legal? She knew we had the dogs so she should have charged a pet deposit when we moved in or a higher security deposit. We had to put down a $625 security deposit and $200 pet deposit for our new place, that's why you put it down before you move in right? It's like now she's trying to get us to pay back deposit or something because she made the mistake of not making us put the money down when we signed the lease. She uses the excuse that she had just had surgery right before we moved in and wasn't herself because she was on pain meds and she would have never let those big dogs in that house. I'm ready to put a stop payment on the check, but want to make sure she's not right before I do so.

Update:

There was only carpeting in the living room, a very small area and my husband even offered to install the new carpet, but she turned down the offer.

12 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    You are responsible for the damage your dogs do, be it $500 or $5,000. It does not matter that her deposit requirement was low, you did the damage, you need to pay to have it repaired.

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  • 1 decade ago

    The thing here is that she is not charging you a deposit for the pet, she is charging you for damages done during your tenancy at the rental. Whether she charged you a deposit prior to moving in really had no bearing on any damages done while there.

    Take the new place. You said you paid a $200 pet deposit. That is fine. If, when you move out, the rugs in the new place are damaged and it costs $400 to repair/replace them then you will owe that landlord $200 additional. The amount you pay prior is not a "cover all" for damages, just a deposit on what damages might occur.

    It would be the same thing for a security deposit. If you paid $625 as a security deposit but when you moved out the landlord found that you damaged the walls of the rental and it cost $700 to repair then you would owe the landlord an additional $75.

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  • Tim
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    As a landlord, I do not charge a pet deposit. A pet deposit can only be used to cover damages caused by a pet. Instead I will charge an increased deposit if someone has a pet.

    An overall deposit can be used to repair any damages to the house whether casued by a pet or the tenants. Why would I want to limit myself to the damages that the deposit would cover?

    As to your situation. The carpets were damaged while you lived there. It doesn't matter how they were damaged, you are responsible for returning the house in the same condition as when you moved in.

    You put a stop payment on a check and be prepared to get sued.

    You are responsible for all damaged, even if it is more than the deposit you put down. You will lose in court, you will have your credit affected. Just pay for the damage that was caused while you lived there.

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  • 1 decade ago

    The pet deposit is for cleaning the carpet, not replacing it. If the carpet was so dirty it had to be replaced the additional charge would be fair.

    If you doubt it is fair have someone give you a price on replacing the carpet.

    Now, if she keeps the money and doesn't replace the carpet then it's a rip off. But I'm not sure there is much you can do about it. This is just a pit fall of renting verses owning.

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  • 1 decade ago

    The landlord had no legal obligation to charge/collect a pet deposit. Her choice does not relieve you of having to pay for damages caused by you and yours upon move out.

    However, you, as the tenant, are responsible for any damages caused by your pets while in residence.

    She's right, so do not put a stop payment on the check.

    If she were to sue you for the damages, it would not look good for you to the judge. You agree to pay and give her a check and then put a stop on it. You would be held liable for the damages, court costs plus any bank fees that she would incur. Bad idea.

    The landlord has no obligation to allow your husband, your friend or anyone else to replace the carpet. She has the right to decide who does the work and how it is done. It's her property.

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  • Gem
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    This depends on your state laws!

    In Michigan if the owner takes a security deposit they cannot ask for any more money later. So the landlord would be screwed.

    In other states they are legally entitled to damages.

    And it doesn't matter if the damage was caused by dogs or not. All that matters is that it is damaged. Sounds to me like what you think is that because the deposit wasn't specifically for the dogs, any damages they cause would not be your problem. WRONG.

    The dogs don't sign the lease, you do.

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  • JSB
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    If you signed an agreement that had the dogs listed as allowed, then you don't have to pay extra.

    If the dogs are not listed in the agreement, then you will have to pay.

    The courts will look at the agreement, and see that there is no mention of the dogs, then you will be out the court fees as well as the $500. replacement fee for the carpet. You may even be responsible for more fees, depending on the laws of your state.

    I have a feeling you are screwed, this maybe one of those life lessons we all hate.

    Make sure you have a written agreement with your new landlord, that lists the type, breed, age, and maybe a picture of the dogs. Make sure you have a copy of your agreement.

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  • 1 decade ago

    A 'pet deposit' is no guarantee that the deposit will cover all damages caused by pets. It's merely an ADDITIONAL form of deposit to cover such damages.

    If your animals caused damages to the property, you are responsible to pay for them in full, pet deposit or not.

    The only difference you have in your situation is that you are being required to pay the entire costs of the damages after you vacated the premises, with no upfront deposit to reduce what you owe.

    The landlord is not required to accept your offer to put down new carpets. She is entitled to use a contractor of her own choice, to insure that the installation is appropriate and well done.

    If you want the dogs, be prepared to pay for whatever problems they cause.

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  • 1 decade ago

    If you damaged the carpet, and other items in the home, you're libel for the repairs or replacement of such items. It's easier for you to give her the check now then for you to have to answer a summons from the local small claims court if she goes after you there.

    I'd just write off the $500 and try to keep the dogs from ripping up the next rental home.

    Source(s): I'm a landlord.
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  • 1 decade ago

    Before I paid her anything, I would make her show me receipts for the repair. Carpet can be replaced by room or by area. You do not have to replace the carpet in the whole place if the damage is confined to one area. It is not your fault that she was on drugs when you moved in, but I'd be sure it was fair replacement cost. Or you could make her take you to small claims court. She should get repair estimates from several companies, not her nephew or family friend either. They could jack up the cost to make you pay more. Good luck!

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