New tenant having severe allergic reaction to carpet

11 Replies

Our tenants child (1.5 yo) is allergic to dogs. He gets severe excema all over from them. These tenants have been in the home 2 weeks and he is having serious breakouts. I am not sure what the best options are to remedy this situation.

Background: We advertised as a pet friendly rental because we have owned a dog in this house (we barely moved out and have turned it into a rental). We informed them that we had a dog there, and because we are allowing pets we would not be changing out the carpeting. We would have it cleaned (which we did the day before they moved in). If we were going to pay for all new flooring, we were not going to allow pets.  This was all discussed when they came to see the home during our open house. They actually own a tiny dog, which stays on the tiled kitchen floor (he is trained very well. I went to their previous apartment to check it out and he is very good about not coming into the carpet). So they need a pet friendly rental, but their son can't be crawling on carpet that has animal dander.

We know they love the home. They have already cleaned up the yard and purchased a chicken coop. They have friends in the area. Their other child is registered for preschool. We can forsee them really enjoying the neighbors and staying for a while. But...the allergies.

So...options:

1. Allow them to break lease because of medical condition? We have a clause about ELT that states they can buyout with a 2 month rent due and 30 day notice, but I don't know if having a medical condition is under this. We can offer to find replacement renters and only charge them through when the new renter's move in.  ???

2. We can offer to refloor the home, but I would want to charge more of we are putting in all new flooring. Part of the way we priced them home was because the carpet is older. If we put down LVP in the main living areas and new carpet in the bedrooms, I would want to add another $50 (at least) to the rent. We are already on the lower side for a pet friendly house ($1685 for 4/2.5 split level in Silicon Slopes, that's including pet fee). I was looking at available rentals online tonight and most homes are $1900, they all have some carpeting in the houses, and none state "new carpet" so I believe they will have this issue at any other home they go to.

Are these viable options? We can offer to clean the carpets again, but the carpet guy said pet dander is a beast to remove. I know as a landlord we have to provide reasonable and good efforts to fix this issue, but reflooring without a rent increase seems above and beyond "reasonable".

And hey, thanks for reading my long and lengthy post!

I would talk to them and see what they would like to do; I think both options you laid out are viable (letting them out of the lease early or increasing rent for new flooring). Or, if they really love the home, you could offer to split the price of the new flooring with them instead, which could work out well for both of you.

I would give them two options, move out with penalties or pay the full cost of replacing the flooring. You should be able to replace the tennats with next to know cost to you, there is no way you shuld be paying anything to replace the flooring. Not your problem, not your cost.

Let them decide.

Thank thank you for all your input. We're going to speak with them tonight and let them know they can break lease because of this medical condition. We won't make them pay their 2-month early termination fee, but will ask them to continue paying the rent until we find another renter as per our contract. It shouldn't take long though, this is a hot market.

As much as we would like to keep them as renters, have great potential to be there long-term as they were in their last place for five years, we cannot justify spending $4,000+ on new flooring for them when we could get another family in there without spending a penny on new flooring.

@Laura Johnson ,  This is not a pet allergy.  A variety of subtle things can cause eczema outbreaks.  However, you will not be able to convince them of this if they believe otherwise.

Two options:  Move out according to lease terms or tenants to purchase flooring.

Caveat:  If they get bad advice from their Homeopath, Naturopath or other unqualified consultant, you could be headed to court.

On top of what you already proposed, I would tell them that they can replace the carpet at their expense if they want to stay or you can do it and raise the rent $150 a month to offset the cost. No need to get rid of them if they're going to be good long term tenants otherwise and don't want to leave

If they don't want to move depending on the carpet  type there are some vinyl floors they could put down in the main area over the carpet to verify the carpet is the cause.   something like this  https://messymom.com/2013/10/how-we-put-hardwood-o... or my suggestion would be  they can try something like a portable dance floor.  Those would be options they can take when they leave or try short term.  I hesitate to say an area rug. My sister is allergic to a lot of things and with some carpet for her it is the backing on the carpet. 

Eczema may also be a reaction to the move in general.  Let us know how your conversation goes.