Tenant violated lease which caused damage - Posted by Mark H

Posted by Nate(DC) on July 29, 2003 at 11:53:19:

Like I say, take what you can and let them fight for the difference. Even if they take you to housing court, you are unlikely to have to pay back any more than what you would have had to pay them anyway.


Tenant violated lease which caused damage - Posted by Mark H

Posted by Mark H on July 28, 2003 at 14:58:00:

I own a condo that I had rented to a young couple. The lease allowed 2 cats, no other pets could visit or be kept without written approval from me.

They just moved out, the carpets are ruined and I found out from my HOA that they had a puppy for the past 2 months. The animal smells are pretty fierce, stains everywhere there is carpet. The carpets are 6 years old but were not worn. In fact when they moved in they looked new. They are still not worn, the problem is purely with the many stains and oders.

I have written a letter to them pointing out the items that need correction before we have our final walk through (carpet stains, oven was not cleaned etc) and told them I was aware that they had a dog in violation of the lease AND the HOA Regulations that they agreed to follow as part of the lease.

I am obviously going to have to replace the carpets. I know that the IRS definition of useful life for depreciation purposes is 5 years, but I actually never depreciated the carpets for tax purposes. I went and got a quote to replace the carpets, and with relatively inexpensive Berber it will run $28.59 per yard installed ($1,715.40 for 540 sq. feet). This is in San Francisco, CA, so it isn’t the cheapest place in the world to have this type of thing done.

How do I work out how much to charge these tenants? I am not trying to be vindictive (although I am very angry), I don’t want legal repurcussions, but at the same time these guys were violating the lease and the CC&Rs. There has to be some way for me to get compensated for this and short-circuit any argument they might have that the carpets needed to be replaced anyway.

Anyone know what my options are? I was considering using the argument that the carpets were probably good for another 5 years due to the lack of wear, and offer to pay 50%. Or should I tell them they should pay for it all, and compromise from there?


Re: Tenant violated lease which caused damage - Posted by Scott

Posted by Scott on July 28, 2003 at 20:44:20:

Hey at that price I’m going to UPS the carpet from Charlotte, fly my guy out on a e-saver and make a few bucks. I might even get Bank of America (Nationsbank) to finance it.

Re: Tenant violated lease which caused damage - Posted by Nate(DC)

Posted by Nate(DC) on July 28, 2003 at 16:35:20:

I’d look at it this way: they destroyed the carpet, and it has to be replaced because of what they did, and the cost of replacing it is $1,715. So that’s what they owe you.

If they want to negotiate from there and you are so inclined, let them. But don’t hand them, for free, something they may not even ask for.

How much was your deposit?


Re: Tenant violated lease which caused damage - Posted by Mark H

Posted by Mark H on July 28, 2003 at 18:36:21:

Hi Nate,

I hear you on the “they trashed it, they should pay” but I am in renter’s paradise here. I found in “California Tenants - A Guide to Residential Tenants’ and Landlords’ Rights and Responsibilities” http://www.dca.ca.gov/legal/landlordbook/catenant.pdf
that if the usable life is 10 years and the carpets were 8 years old then you can only charge them 20% of the replacement cost! No matter how good the carpets were to begin with. No mention if the tenants were negligent or what.

I have enough of a deposit to cover ($3,250) but they still owe me a month’s rent if I can’t re-rent it straight away (lease is actually through Aug 31st). So theoretically I am not going to be out of pocket.

I was hoping because of a violation of the lease I could extact a kind of “civil penalty” for the damages, which would be (in my mind) evidence of negligence.