Dog Poop... Lots of it... What is an appropriate charge?

4 Replies

So admittedly my lease was not specific enough as i made a rookie mistake and thought that this tenant who just got her PHD and was a scientist would have some common sense...Yes i know there is no excuse for a lease which is not specific enough. But now i am dealing with it. My tenant moved out a couple of days ago. And when i did the walk through initially i was happily surprised as she cleaned the hell out of the townhome. Til later i raninto the guy who does general maintenance on the development and told me there has been lots of complaints about the tenant as she lets her dogs go in the yard and doesnt clean up. This was never brought to my attention and so I went to the back where i slowly discovered dried poop every where... I had to pull lots of weeds out as teh maintenance people stopped clearing the area because of the poop. Its a small development of 20 something townhomes. I spent hours pulling weeds to find the dried poop not only behind my property but behind the neighbors as well.  What is an appropriate charge from the security deposit?  Part of me which is pissed wants to charge a lot because spending hours in 95 degree weather is not my idea of a good time but i know i need to be fair. Also she left couch and a couple other large items in the garbage area after i told her they need to have a special pick up... Finally maybe i am being picky but among other items what bothered me is the kitchen sink handle came off. SO i texted her and asked when di hat break. She told me she had issues for months then a few weeks ago the screw broke and she through it out. Of course it didnt break it was that small screw that hold the handle in place that is less than a quarter inch big. I tried buying a replacement screw but they dont fit so now i may have to change the faucet...(unless i can find just a replacement handle but didnt see one at lowes) The faucet and kitchen was just done a year and a few months ago. Can i charge for the replacement faucet?

Sorry i know its long but i like to give as much details as i can to get a fair answer.

You should have just paid a cheap landscape crew to deal with all of that.

If your lease doesn't specify outside grounds it will be hard to prove the dogs caused the problem and was not some stray dogs etc. If she fights it you can end up in court and even if you win it will do nothing for you.

The stuff you mentioned is so minor compared to what some tenants do that I would just move on from it.. The sink thing is very minor as well.

No legal advice. 

The key with deposits is that you charge what it cost you (minus general wear and tear). So how much did it cost you to remove all of this and how much time did you spend. It's a lot easier to determine if you hire someone to do it, because you just charge them what it cost you (minus the general wear and tear of course which wouldn't apply with picking up dog poop). You should probably double check on this, but I think when it comes to your own labor, you want to assign a reasonable hourly rate (maybe $15-20/hour) and charge for each hour you spent.

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Since she did a great job cleaning the place, I'd just consider it a fair trade for the sink repair. The dog poop will be hard to prove as Joel said, so let that go, too. In our condo developments, rentals as well as our own residence, bulk pickup on the appropriate day is the responsibility of the tenant/owner, or the association will bill them for a special pickup if they don't arrange one themselves. I would charge the tenant for that if you're going to get billed. Get the bill from the association or the pickup company and include it with an itemized accounting of her deposit. 

If the association doesn't bill you, I'd let it all go and just be glad she cleaned the place and didn't trash it. I've seen far worse.

I figured that so i asked her and she admitted that it was her two dogs and her response was initially apologetic saying i never new there was an issue with the neighbors. So i am not worried about proving it as much as what is reasonable. I had to do it myself because the new tenants were moving in and the maintenance guy had put a complaint in to the association so i just needed to get it done.  I tried telling her about the big furniture and her excuse was well i see people leave stuff there. So i guess i will charge whatever i get charged on that. I spent a few hours on the cleaning outside so i guess $60 is a fair assessment. I have had much worse than this what really bothered me is that it pissed off the community and the maintenance guys. In such a small community its important to keep things friendly but i apologized already to every one and the new tenants are dogless so hopefully it will be a nice change.'Thanks