Pets can cause a lot of damage in a rental property. In some areas, landlords can charge a pet deposit. Otherwise, landlords can deduct the cost of repairs and replacements from the tenant’s security deposit. In most states, the landlords must provide an itemized list of the expenses. Repair receipts and photos are other ways to prove damage.
Pet urine is especially problematic, but how can landlords document pet urine stains and smells?
Pet Urine is Damaging to Rental Properties
There’s no doubt that pet urine can cause a lot of damage to a rental property. The strong smell is the first indication that animals have urinated on the floor. If the owner doesn’t clean it immediately with the right product, the odor can linger indefinitely. The moisture can get down into carpet or laminate flooring and damage it.
Urine can also discolor flooring. Bacteria, mold and other microorganisms can also thrive in spots where pets have urinated frequently.
Unless the carpet is cleaned by a professional, there will be damage from pet urine. Landlords need to document the pet urine somehow for proof of the damage.
How to Document Pet Urine in a Rental Property
Landlords may be puzzled at how to document pet urine in their rental property. After all, a stain may not show up in a photo. It’s difficult to document a smell, especially after the pet urine has been cleaned up.
Any landlord that is worried that a tenant will dispute the deductions for pet urine should document stains using a black light. A black light emits long wave ultraviolet light and it makes urine glow.
All the landlord has to do is purchase an inexpensive black light flashlight. Then, they dim the lights and shine the flashlight onto the carpet or flooring. If there is pet urine, it will glow brightly. The landlord can take a picture of the stain as documentation. As long as the photos are date stamped, there should be no question as to their authenticity.
Withholding security deposit for pet odor
Landlords need to comply with the laws of their state when it comes to refunding the security deposit for pet ordor and keeping out any deductions. They should document the stains via photographs, both in natural light and with a black light. They can also get a copy of the job summary from the professional carpet cleaner about the pet stains.
If the tenant decides to dispute the charges, the landlord has the proof via the photos using the black light.
What Are Other Landlords Saying About Documenting Pet Urine
Every landlord needs to protect themselves and their property. That’s why doing a walk through inspection before a tenant moves in is good to do. A walk through before moving out is also important. That way, landlords and tenants can discover together any problems with the property.
Here’s a screenshot of landlords discussing this question in our private Facebook group for Landlords.
You can see even more comments on that post by checking it out in the group.