Cat urine damaged flooring-Can I charge for the whole room?

7 Replies

I have had to replace the carpet and baseboards in a bedroom and a hallway due to cat urine odor. There were odors all along the 14 foot wall with one tremendously infected area about 20 by 10 inches in size. I treated the subfloor with Kilz before installation. I didn't want have the carpet patched with a poorly matched carpet so I replaced the entire bedroom. Can I charge for the whole room replacement and if not, how shall I calculate the tenant's responsibility? On the tenant walk-through, she admitted that it was her responsibility and I have notes.

I also had to replace laminate in the entry 8'x8' area. I hired a carpenter to remove infected subfloor, drywall, baseboard and install new flooring. I'm feeling pretty confident about charging for all the labor and materials for the entryway but I am not sure what to do about the carpet.

Should I itemize all my costs including my time and the enzyme treatment that didn't work even though I am waiving those costs? Should I send pictures of the ripped up floor with the final accounting to show that I have a strong case for keeping the security deposit?

This is an inherited tenant with a $1400 security deposit. ($800 base + $600 pet deposit).

Please and thank you.

Yes, take photos of everything. Charge for ALL THE WORK COMPLETED... if you decide to credit the treatment that didn't work, itemize it on an invoice. If they fight the deposit disbursement and you go to court, it'll look like you were as fair as you could have been. I have dealt with cat urine before and it is awful.

Hello Ginny,

I am a home/apartment remodeler & from my 20 years of experiance I say Yes charge them. The reason there is a seperate deposit for pets is because they can cause alot of damage if the owners do not care for them properly. I see examples of this all the time where the total clean-up bill is more than 2 or 3 times the pet & security deposit combined. Hopefully you took pictures & kept all your receipts. Hopefully the $2,k was enough to cover the repairs because taking a tennant to court is usually a waist of time & money :)

Daniel and Mark, thanks so much for your thoughts. I'm going to send all my notes and photos with the final accounting and hopefully that will discourage my tenant from any guff.

I charge them for all of it. I also always let them know that if they decide to take it farther that I will charge them to the fullest extent of the law.

It's unanimous. Thanks everyone.

charge them but you mention charging for your time and you can't do that in Rhode Island so I would check local regs on that part.

You should charge for everything necessary to bring the room back to the way the tenants found it when they moved in. However carpet in some states has been determined have a useful life. In those places landlords can't charge tenants for the full price of carpet replacement. For example in CA, 5 years is what many property management companies use to stay within the law. Here, if the carpet is more than 5 years old you wouldn't be able to charge the tenants for new carpet, only for the damage to the walls and subfloor that was repaired and maybe for replacing the pad. If the carpet was new when they moved and they stayed there 2 years, you could only charge 60% for replacing all the carpeting, as you would have to deduct 2 years of useful life from the carpeting before charging the tenant.

Make sure you check to see what your state's law on wear and tear on flooring is. You never know when you'll get a moving tenant that will push back. The internet makes it so that tenants can check on their rights pretty easily.

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