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Old 08-08-2009, 03:15 AM   #1
gorgonitz
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Unhappy Replacement of Carpet due to Blacklight stains

Hi really need your help here. I m living in a rented one bed room apartment. I had a pet in the apartment initially. But the pet was removed from the apartment after I discovered I had to pay pet rental(and this was after a few months). So my LL say he will just do a visual inspection to see that the furniture and all is in proper order as I had a pet in there before. And I do not have to pay if everything is in order. Note that I did not sign any pet argreement contract and I was not informed that I have to pay pet rental by the LL.

So now, after weeks, he came back to me with a letter citing that I have to pay 700+ for carpet damages due to my pet. I approached him since I do not have any visible stains in the apartment.

He told me he got a professional carpet inspector to come in to do a blacklight test. And stains are found in every room. So the whole carpet has to be removed. Since the original cost of the carpet is 1000+, he decided I have to pay a prorated amount of 700+. The life expectancy of the carpet is 5 yrs and after my lease ends, there is 3yrs remaing on the carpet. Note there is no visible damage to the carpet.

It was never mention in my contract that they will use the blacklight test to determine if the carpet needs to be replace. And I was not informed that I have a new carpet when I moved in.

Does he have a case against me? And what should be my best course of action?
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Old 08-08-2009, 09:53 AM   #2
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Default Re: Replacement of Carpet due to Blacklight stains

Ask if this same blacklight test was done after the last tenant. If so, and the stains cannot be removed by a carpet cleaner, you will have to pay the depreciated value of the carpet at move out. (It would appear that your unauthorized pet had accidents on the carpet.) If the carpet was new at move in, his calculations are correct. If it was not new, you need to show that the calculations are wrong due to less than 3 yrs of remaining life left in the carpet. Perhaps the last tenant or a neighboring one could tell you?

Carpet does not have to be visually stained to be ruined. Smells in a carpet will ruin them too. Urine smells will rise for a very long time and the next tenant won't accept the unit. Pet owners normally cannot smell their own pets. But someone who has no pets can. The urine soaks down to the padding and sometimes into the subfloor below. It can be very difficult to remove.

You were told the carpet would be visually inspected. Shining a light on it and looking at it is visual.
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Old 08-08-2009, 01:34 PM   #3
gorgonitz
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Default Re: Replacement of Carpet due to Blacklight stains

Thanks for the prompt reply. The blacklight test was not done after the last tenant. Also, if my LL can't prove that the carpet is new ie with receipts or invoice, how should the penalty be calculated?

I also paid a security deposit. Isn't that for such cases, instead of requesting for extra charges.

BTW the pet rental is 20 a per month with a 500 deposit and 100 is non-refundable. If I am under the pet rental aggreement, and with the blacklight stains, I would really lose all my pet deposit isnt it? And that is definitely less than 700+.

Also, I did not sign any contract stating there is a pet rental policy plus it was never written that your apt will be subjected to blacklight test before I move out.
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Old 08-08-2009, 04:10 PM   #4
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Default Re: Replacement of Carpet due to Blacklight stains

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Originally Posted by gorgonitz View Post
Thanks for the prompt reply. The blacklight test was not done after the last tenant. Also, if my LL can't prove that the carpet is new ie with receipts or invoice, how should the penalty be calculated?

I also paid a security deposit. Isn't that for such cases, instead of requesting for extra charges.

BTW the pet rental is 20 a per month with a 500 deposit and 100 is non-refundable. If I am under the pet rental aggreement, and with the blacklight stains, I would really lose all my pet deposit isnt it? And that is definitely less than 700+.

Also, I did not sign any contract stating there is a pet rental policy plus it was never written that your apt will be subjected to blacklight test before I move out.
How do you know that a blacklight test wasn't done before you moved in? Have you been in contact with the former tenant? Or did the LL tell you so? Did for former tenant even have a pet?

As for proving replacement cost, LL must provide receipts or absolute evidence if he's to establish the original installation date. If he can't, then that might be a problem for him.

The security deposit is for charges and costs to restore unit to same condition as when you moved in AFTER you move out, not BEFORE. The pet deposit, as with security deposit, is a deposit to be used towards any damages. If it isn't enough, you still have to pay the balance (it isn't like insurance where that's all you pay and the company eats the rest).

As for LL's pet rental policy, did you even tell them you had a pet before you moved in, or did you just figure it was ok because other tenants had pets also? Obviously when the LL learned you had your pet, you were made aware of that policy real quick and got rid of the cat.

They don't have to tell you specifically that a blacklight would be used. When LL's deal with pet-friendly rentals, they learn to use what works to ensure that each unit is clean and ready for the next tenant. LL's that know pets know that pet accidents happen and are not always clearly noticible, and that pet owners don't always catch all accidents. Just because YOU don't smell anything doesn't mean the problem is eliminated, and what soaks down into the padding can't be seen from the surface. The chemical makeup of pet urine (especially cats) is so damaging to carpeting that simple cleaning will never be enough to protect it from permanent damage and shortening of its useful life. Blacklight technology detects what cannot be seen by the naked eye. It's not only reasonable for him to use this, but it's LL's insurance that the next tenant doesn't have to deal with hidden problems left behind by the last one.
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Old 08-08-2009, 05:11 PM   #5
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Default Re: Replacement of Carpet due to Blacklight stains

How do you know that a blacklight test wasn't done before you moved in? Have you been in contact with the former tenant? Or did the LL tell you so? Did for former tenant even have a pet?

***I knew the former tenant and no he doesnt have a pet. As far as he knows, no blacklight test was mentioned to him. And in his knowledge, his carpet was still new when he moved in. And he stayed there for less than 2 yrs. Would the LL have replaced his carpet since the LL told me it was a brand new carpet for me? And I was told that my unit had passed the blacklight test before I moved in.

As for proving replacement cost, LL must provide receipts or absolute evidence if he's to establish the original installation date. If he can't, then that might be a problem for him.

***What do you advice if that happens?

The security deposit is for charges and costs to restore unit to same condition as when you moved in AFTER you move out, not BEFORE. The pet deposit, as with security deposit, is a deposit to be used towards any damages. If it isn't enough, you still have to pay the balance (it isn't like insurance where that's all you pay and the company eats the rest).

***Thanks for the verification. But wouldnt that mean that the pet deposit will more than likely be used up for the carpet replacement fees?

As for LL's pet rental policy, did you even tell them you had a pet before you moved in, or did you just figure it was ok because other tenants had pets also? Obviously when the LL learned you had your pet, you were made aware of that policy real quick and got rid of the cat.

***I never told them I have a pet(its a dog) since other tenants have pets too. The LL only notify me a few months later that I need to pay pet rental and the pet deposits. That was when I gave my dog up for adoption.(due to complications with other issues too)

They don't have to tell you specifically that a blacklight would be used. When LL's deal with pet-friendly rentals, they learn to use what works to ensure that each unit is clean and ready for the next tenant. LL's that know pets know that pet accidents happen and are not always clearly noticible, and that pet owners don't always catch all accidents. Just because YOU don't smell anything doesn't mean the problem is eliminated, and what soaks down into the padding can't be seen from the surface. The chemical makeup of pet urine (especially cats) is so damaging to carpeting that simple cleaning will never be enough to protect it from permanent damage and shortening of its useful life. Blacklight technology detects what cannot be seen by the naked eye. It's not only reasonable for him to use this, but it's LL's insurance that the next tenant doesn't have to deal with hidden problems left behind by the last one.

***I see thanks.
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Old 08-08-2009, 08:10 PM   #6
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Default Re: Replacement of Carpet due to Blacklight stains

If the former tenant didn't have a pet, then it makes no sense for the LL to have done a blacklight test on the carpeting when that person moved out. If LL didn't know YOU had a pet, there would again be no reason for him to do one before you moved in. If LL says he did it, make him prove it (ask for receipts, work orders, a report from the company and technician that did the test).

If LL can't prove the carpet installation date, he'll have a hard time proving what the useful life of the carpet was and how much was left when you moved in. If he expects you to pay for the carpet, any part of it, demand to see the receipts, work orders, and invoices proving the install date. Otherwise, you can use this to challenge whatever he tries to charge you (if he can justify charging you at all).

If you get charged for the carpet replacement, then yes, that pet deposit would more than likely be used up for the carpet replacement fees. It's kind of an incentive for pet owners to be responsible for the behavior of their pets, and to reduce the risk of damage that could potentially be caused by them. (If you have to pay for your damage, you'll act more responsibly in order to avoid the expense, right?)

I kind of got the impression that you never disclosed that you had a dog. The LL notified you of the pet policy and deposit requirements when he discovered you had one. You're lucky you didn't get evicted over that - it would have been considered a breach of your lease agreement for your failure to disclose. LL's need this information, especially so that they have the means to control risk of damages caused by pets.
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Old 08-09-2009, 04:17 AM   #7
gorgonitz
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Default Re: Replacement of Carpet due to Blacklight stains

If the former tenant didn't have a pet, then it makes no sense for the LL to have done a blacklight test on the carpeting when that person moved out. If LL didn't know YOU had a pet, there would again be no reason for him to do one before you moved in. If LL says he did it, make him prove it (ask for receipts, work orders, a report from the company and technician that did the test).

*** So if my LL does not have a test done before I moved in, will the test done after I moved in be valid in any case? Can he charge me based on the results of the test done after I have moved in?

If LL can't prove the carpet installation date, he'll have a hard time proving what the useful life of the carpet was and how much was left when you moved in. If he expects you to pay for the carpet, any part of it, demand to see the receipts, work orders, and invoices proving the install date. Otherwise, you can use this to challenge whatever he tries to charge you (if he can justify charging you at all).

If you get charged for the carpet replacement, then yes, that pet deposit would more than likely be used up for the carpet replacement fees. It's kind of an incentive for pet owners to be responsible for the behavior of their pets, and to reduce the risk of damage that could potentially be caused by them. (If you have to pay for your damage, you'll act more responsibly in order to avoid the expense, right?)

*** Yes I got the point you are bringing across. But if say if my pet did not let go in the house before. And on moving out, the blacklight test shows stains, and these stains could easily belong to any detergent or liquid which is not from my pet. My pet deposit will still be forfeited and I may still have to pay the excess for the carpet removal? Gist of it is, if I have a pet, how would he determine if the stains are my pet's.

I kind of got the impression that you never disclosed that you had a dog. The LL notified you of the pet policy and deposit requirements when he discovered you had one. You're lucky you didn't get evicted over that - it would have been considered a breach of your lease agreement for your failure to disclose. LL's need this information, especially so that they have the means to control risk of damages caused by pets.

*** I admitted that I did not tell my LL I have a pet. But this has never occur to me that I have to let my LL know. I m not local, and I do not know about the pet culture here. I am harping that my LL did not inform me of the pet rental, and this was not listed in my contract as well. So there is really no way I would have known until he talked to me about it.
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Old 08-09-2009, 11:02 AM   #8
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Default Re: Replacement of Carpet due to Blacklight stains

Sandy claus is correct abut the deposit. Can't be touched until after you vacate.

You don't need a technician to do a blacklight test. Anyone can do one. All you need is a blacklight and an extension cord. Close the blinds/curtains, turn it on, and shine it over the carpet. There will be no receipt for this. If the last tenant didn't have a pet and the carpet was new then, the only way stains could show up is from your pet. One exception! I have heard, but not verified, that some cleaning companies cleaning solution are flourescent under this black light also. Ask who cleaned the carpet and ask what they used to clean with. Do some research on this subject. I cannot verify as I said.

The age of the carpet is easily verified and he doesn't (nor do you) need to see a receipt. He has to depreciate that carpet on his tax Schedule E. It has the date acquired on it. If you end up in court over this, ask him to show that to a judge to prove its age and how many years he is using to depreciate. If he doesn't have it, ask for the receipt to show installation or purchase. That is considered proof of its age. Its age and the number of years he uses to depreciate determine the charges for a ruined carpet. When you look at the schedule, there are several columns. Find the carpet and follow across. "LIFE" tells how many years he is using to depreciate (he told you 5 so 5 should be in there). DATE ACQUIRED/PLACED IN SERVICE" tells when it was installed and tells you how old it is now. You take the life number and subtract the age of the carpet (usually figured in months, not years). That gives you the remaining life left in the carpet. Divide the remaining life number by the LIFE number. You get a decimal. Multiply that decimal by the cost of new carpeting to see how much the tenant is responsible for.

A further explanation: LLs can take anywhere from 5 to 10 years to depreciate carpet. The norm is 7 yrs. He said 5, so he is probably telling the truth. 5 maximizes his deduction each year, but makes you liable for less money since he has already taken a larger chunk for those 2 yrs. (He will have taken 40% of the cost off already. Had he said 10 yrs, he would have only taken 20% off the cost and you would have owed 80%.) You are responsible for the rest (the remaining life) if you were to ruin a carpet. So he's probably using 5 as the LIFE. Now whether the carpet was new when you moved in or not - that is the question. That is what you need to know. Ask the former tenant to come by and see if it is the same carpet.
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Old 08-09-2009, 04:14 PM   #9
sandyclaus
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Lightbulb Re: Replacement of Carpet due to Blacklight stains

As I see it, the LL has 2 things he needs to prove before he can charge OP for carpet replacement.

He has to prove what the useful life of carpet is (based upon installation date and depreciation, per the above post), and he has to prove what the condition of the carpet was before OP moved in (blacklight testing, whether carpet was new or used, etc.).

In my limited research, I also found that there is an inherent problem with blacklight testing in that it does not just detect pet urine, but other common substances can glow under it as well. These include laundry detergents, other body fluids - human or pet, petroleum jelly, vitamins A & B, chlorophyll, antifreeze, tooth whiteners, club soda or tonic water. Even some professional carpet cleaning fluids have fluorescing compounds in them! Depending on the chemical breakdown of the materials, each glows a different color, and unless a technician is properly trained to recognize the difference, he could feasibly claim that ANYTHING glowing was pet urine, when in fact it really isn't.

This means that if the previous tenant spilled any of these items on the carpet, and that carpet wasn't replaced before OP moved in, or if the LL had carpet professionally cleaned in between tenants, these could account for the spots the technician claimed to be pet stains from OP's dog while he still had it there.

But, on the other hand, OP seems just a bit TOO eager to try and attribute the causes to something OTHER than the dog, that same dog who was moved into the apt without LL's knowledge in the first place. I would hate to see this information given to someone who is just doing anything they can to avoid having to take responsibility for his own mess.
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Old 08-09-2009, 07:36 PM   #10
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Default Re: Replacement of Carpet due to Blacklight stains

Hi thanks for the insights. I m not trying to push away my responsibilities. I would want to make sure I am not penalise for something that is not my fault.

i had actually gotten a blacklight and run it over my carpet. My LL had claimed that the mess is all over the house including mhy bedroom. Which I disagree. And voila when I run the blacklight, my bedroom was cleared except for specks which basically appears throughout the house. And these specks are different color from what the manufacturer had say the urine spots should appear as. I do have 2 pet stains one in my living and one in my dining. I know they are pet stains due to the shape of the stains. I also have some food spills near my dining area which definitely do not look like pet stains(but the color shows up like the pet stains). And one last area is at the entrance of my apartment where all my shoes are. Again there are some blobs here and there and they appear the same color as pet stains. But I m sure they are cause by my shoes.

So really now, do I have the option to get professional carpet cleaners to fix the stain?

And should the LL really try to repair the damage instead of replacing the entire carpet.

Also, should I really be reponsible for the area where the pet stain is? And not the entire carpet.
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