Landlording Advice - Damages by Tenant

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Landlording Problems - Damages by Tenant

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Q: Recently discovered during the yearly walk through on our new condo that the tenant's dog (permission granted for pet) urine has so damaged the carpet and the lino that the contractor/floor people say it can not be cleaned and will have to be replaced at a cost of $2500. The tenants term ends at the end of April and they are not aware of the damage costs at this time. What to do? If we inform the tenant's of the situation can we demand payment by a certain date? They will likely disappear at the end of April. as it is very unlikely they have this kind of money available to them. Can we evict the dog since keeping the dog in the unit could result in the damage extending into the subfloor of the condo and therby impacting our neighbours below us? Damage Deposit only covers $500. Not sure of the correct steps to take.
A: You've obviously let the tenants have a pet and now you're concerned that the pet has caused damages. The tenants are responsible for their pet and any damages the pet might cause. As a landlord you should issue the tenants a letter detailing what your concerns are, what you think the damages are attributable to, and what you think needs to be done and by when. This is sometimes called a 'breach' letter but it really is something that reaches back into ecclesiastical law and stands for the proposition that when somebody is doing you a wrong you must first approach them and tell them to stop. Ecclesiastically, if things don't stop you move up the ladder and go to the offender with a witness in tow. If the actions or offences don't stop with this you go to the village elders, and they go to the offender and explain things to him in a way it may never have been explained to him before. If the elders aren't effective you go off to the local magistrate who holds court and has authority. The appeal from this can involve everybody up to the reigning monarch.
When it is examined, you'll find our present legal system is pretty similar to the ecclesiastical one. You're on the first rung. Take your concerns to the tenants, tell them what's up and that you're looking to them to make things right. Put things in writing. If the tenants don't respond to your satisfaction you move up the ladder, eventually going to arbitration (the local magistrate) with your claim for damages.


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