Did My Landlord violated my legal rights ?

By lizg

my roommate complained that there was pet odor in my apartment. my landlord told me verbally that there was no smell and my lease says all i had to do is have the carpets professionally shampooed when i left. i requested by email that i could break my lease early because my roommate constantly harassed me about the carpet even after the landlord said it was fine, and he agreed in an email to break my lease and return my deposit assuming no pet damage.

the week before i moved out the landlord wrote in an email that he would get an estimate to clean the carpet (but not get it cleaned), and that i would have the option of a second estimate. he said we should both be present for any estimates.
my next email from him is a month after i moved out, saying he hired a cleaning company to clean the carpet TWICE even though they said they could not guarantee they could remove pet odor; that he was going to replace the carpet for $700; that he had several “experts” (a carpet cleaning company, a carpet installing company, two managers of petco, his maintenance man who is a family friend, and the current tenants) sign a statement that there was intolerable pet odor.
i responded to his email saying that i thought this was reasonable and that i was seeking legal advice. the advice i received was to ask to be present for a second estimate. (i was not notified of, present for, or even given a copy of any estimates or “expert” witnesses and no longer had a key to the apartment). i THOUGHT i had 30 days to seek advice and respond to his $700 estimate, but within three weeks he notified me that he had already replaced the carpet for $1060 in carpet cleaning charges and carpet installation charges.
i made calls and emails to carpet companies and there are companies who GUARANTEE their work for $200-$400, depending on if they need to treat the padding as well as the carpet. i offered to pay $200 for cleaning since there is no evidence of any pet odor other than the written testimony of witnesses who all have something to gain if the carpet is deemed soiled.
my question is, did he violate my legal rights by: (1) offering me a second opinion and then cleaning and replacing the carpet without inviting me to any of the estimates or witnesses or getting my consent to pay the bill, (2) replacing the carpet when i said i wanted to seek legal advice, effectively destroying all evidence of any alleged odor, (3) telling me he would bill me $700 and then billing me $1060 without notifying me of any changes (4) charging me to replace carpets when i moved out even though he only cleaned the carpets before i moved in (5) he has notified me by certified mail of intent to sue but i STILL have not seen a single piece of paper or email of an estimate, bill, witness statement, name of witness, photograph of the new carpet, i have no proof that the carpet has even been replaced….

Edited on: Wednesday, November 7th, 2012 2:17 pm

2 Responses to “Did My Landlord violated my legal rights ?”

My response: (We welcome stories, examples, explanations, answers and a touch of your personality)
 

lizg

December 2nd, 2008 8:15 pm

oops…its supposed to say i responded by saying it was UNREASONABLE and i sought legal advice.


anonymous

December 5th, 2008 8:00 am

Based on your rent questions concerning the refund or charges to your deposit:
1) Can my landlord charge me for replacement carpet?
Yes. If the landlord can show that there was damage beyond normal wear and tear, he can charge for replacement. Pet odor or stains is considered “Beyond Normal Wear and Tear.” You should be responsible for the damages.
2) Dopn’t I have 30 days to seek legal advice before agreeing to charges?
No. Not sure where you heard that. It makes no sense to require a landlord to wait a full 30 days before fixing a problem. The landlord has right to fix the problem right away. However, if you fail to respond in writting by a certain time-frame (15 to 30 days) you are agreeing to the terms. You have right to dispute the charges, but it should be done immediately.
Now the good news. Your landlord needs to tell you about the charges in a timely manner. If the landlord hasn’t provided you with a written breakdown and explanation within the timeframe required by statute, you could fight all the charges. For this situation I would suggest hiring an attorney, or filing a complaint with the RPA.


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