Complaint Category: None of the Above - Refund or Exchange Complaint Issue
Complaint: Moved out and they are trying to keep our security deposit, because they cliam a pet odor exists. But its really the smell of the 60yr old house.
My wife and I have recently moved out of a rental property managed by this company. They are currently doing everything in their power to make sure they get to keep our security deposit. They are trying to claim that there is a pet odor in the house, even after we had the carpets cleaned twice. This odor is the smell of the house, and it has always smelled this way the entire 3 years that we lived there. Over the 50- 60 years since the house has been built, it has taken on a somewhat musty smell, one that got worse with rain. Over the 3 years that we have lived there, we have filed at least 1 formal complaint about water seeping into the house. The problem is the house sits on a hill and in the front the ground slopes into the house, which causes water to seep into the walls and leak into the basement. Only a minimal fix was done to stop it from happening again. They placed bricks by the front steps and then added a small amount of dirt that they dug up from our backyard. Upon moving out, we noticed several places throughout the house that looked similar to the basement wall when we noticed the water leak. These places are easy to spot because the dry wall has separated from the baseboard. We have also had discussions with their maintenance people over the years to point out several other issues with the house that may be allowing rain to come in. The siding of the house looks to be from when it was originally built (made of wood), and over the years the siding has partially separated from the house. This first became evident when the maintenance worker came out to inspect the attic for bats. (Our neighbor had bats in their attic, and warned us when they had them removed that they wouldn't go far before they made a new home in another attic. We heard noises in the attic for the next week and had them come out to inspect). When ****** was in the attic with his spotlight, we could see in between every single board all the way up the house. Based on these previous problems, the heavy amount of rain in recent weeks, two carpet cleanings in the past 3 weeks, and the fact that our dogs are bathed twice a month (Our friends joke that we have the best smelling dogs, and have even started to bathe their dogs with the shampoo we use), we feel that this is still the musty smell of the house and not a pet odor. We had an opportunity to get back into the house before we had to finalize in writing any disputes and the odor we smelled was the familiar odor of the house, and in no way resembled a pet odor. We even mentioned to *****, the broker who claims it has a" pet odor", while we were there that it wasn't a pet odor and it was just how the house smelled. We received no response from her on this besides a subtle shoulder shrug. It was also heavily raining this day. RRI has 0 documentation over the 3 years that we lived there that any pet odor has developed, as they never did a yearly inspection as they were supposed to do. (While speaking to one of their employees, he admitted to me that they had recently gotten into a lot of trouble because they weren't doing their yearly inspections). We have attempted to explain this to RRI, but they continue to assert it's a pet odor based on one broker's opinion. They even tried to schedule to have the carpet cleaning company come back out on our behalf to see about doing a pet treatment, without our permission. Luckily we were able to cancel the appointment and to let them know that RRI did not have our permission to do that. Lastly, as we understand it a new tenant has already moved into the property. We actually showed the property for RRI and of the 2 interested parties, both had animals (One a dog and a cat, the other 2 big dogs). So more than likely there are already pets living in the house, which we should not be held liable for any odor they may have. We believe we are being targeted by RRI, but don't have enough room here to explain why.
Initial Business Response
Mr. ****** has never once complained of a smell in the home he rented from us for the past 3 years. The pet smell is in the master bedroom on the second floor. In addition to the damage charges at the time of move out what Mr. ****** is really mad about is that he is going to be charged to remove the pet odor in the master bedroom. He had a carpet cleaning company go out and clean the carpet and they said there is a bad pet odor and it is still there. We have had second carpet cleaning company go out and they have told us the padding must be replaced and possibly the carpet from pet urine and the carpet and floor chemically treated. There was brand new carpet installed in the house for Mr. ****** when he moved in. If you would like the documentation from the carpet company we will be glad to furnish it.
Final Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
We do not accept their response as it is full of lies to fit their story, and doesn't offer any resolution. The carpet cleaning company never once mentioned a pet odor. The odor was brought up by the current tenant (We know this because we have spoken to them and have a recorded conversation of this). They pointed out a smell 2 days after moving into the house. The current tenant stated that the house smelled great when they moved in and the smell didn't appear until 2 days after they moved in. He also mentioned that his dog wasn't allowed to stay there yet as it pees in the house to mark its territory, so we have no way of knowing if this dog has already been in the house and started to mark its territory. Just because it isn't staying there doesn't mean it hasn't been there yet, and would find it tough to belive based on how much they talked about their dog when we showed them the house. As we stated in the opening email, RRI has been out to get us since a disagreement between ******** ****** and myself. Ever since then they have done everything in their power to cause us to incur additional costs and suffering. This all started when ******** lied to me about getting yard work done. She emailed me (I have this email ready to produce) to say that the owner had agreed to all the yard work, which wasn't the case. This would have been easier to swallow had they not raised our rent $100 to cover the "requested" yard work. When I called the landscaping company to see why the yard work wasn't completed to my requested specifications and they told me that RRI had only agreed to a few items and not the entire list like was stated. They dragged their feet throughout the whole process and in the end only left us with 7 days to review our lease and sign or we had to be out of the house. Normally we would have had a 60 day period for this. We then got into a heated debate once our lease was signed and the yard work "completed" (Completed to their specifications, not ours). Not soon after this debate of fairness and legality with them our AC unit started to not work properly. They played hardball with us for several days, saying that ours didn't classify as an emergency and therefore would have to wait until someone got out there, which they said would be close to 2 weeks (During the hottest part of the summer). Finally on Friday or Saturday the AC wouldn't even kick on and we filed another request for them to come out. This time they obliged and sent someone out on the weekend. The gentleman that came out had a very difficult time getting the AC unit to kick on as well, and after about 30 mins of flipping switches, checking wires, and inspecting the unit he got it to turn on. He then proceeded to tell me that our thermostats were very old and weren't working properly and to replace them. A week or so after he came out we received an invoice from them for $140 for the visit citing that the repair man found nothing wrong with the unit and that per our lease we didn't have to have programmable thermostats so were liable for the visit and not the owner. And since it was an "emergency" weekend request it costs $50 more than a normal visit (Normal would have been $90). We had no choice but to pay the fine as they were legally allowed to accept our rent without it and then assess more fees. So as you can see we have a somewhat problem past with this company (These are just a small example of the problems we have had with this company). Ever since these incidents both ******** and ***** (Property manager) have been extremely rude and barely willing to work with us, even after I personally called each of them and apologized for the heated debate (Neither one of them returned the gesture). We had to make a maintenance request for the bathroom floor a few months before we moved out and they tried to make it so the floors would be replaced while we were still in the property. This would have caused the entire bathroom to be removed and placed into the main living area, and wasn't until I spoke with the maintenance worker who was going to do the repairs that they backed off it. He had to call them and state how much easier it would be to do the replacement with us out of the house before they would agree. To further my point, we weren't given any sort of prior notice that they were going to be placing a lock box on the house. My wife just came home one day and it was there. So I called up to RRI to ask what was going on and spoke with ***** about it. She seemed to not really care that it happened, but did say that they normally give a notice to the tenant before doing that. We then discussed the part of the lease that states we would have to pay $100 each time we denied them access to show the house. My wife and I both work over 30 mins from the property and have 2 large dogs that we do not crate. I let ***** know this and tried to see if there was a way to work with them on it, but she would not budge an inch. She recommended we either begin to crate the dogs, or find somewhere for them to go on days people wanted to view the house and we couldn't be there. She then also tried to tell me that we would be liable if the dogs bit someone, which we know is incorrect and sent a certified letter to them stating that we did not crate our dogs and that they would be entering the premises at their own risk. Luckily we were able to work with the different real estate agents, no thanks to RRI, and were able to accommodate in one way or another everyone who wanted to see the property. We even held back our bias against RRI and gave tours of the house for RRI. Once again this is just a small picture of our problems with this company to help show how they are just doing this to continue to torment us and to get the carpets replaced. Another issue is that of a third party inspector who is to come out and do the move-out inspection. We requested to be called and at the home for the move-out inspection which ***** noted, but was never followed through with. We asked that a signature and sufficient documentation of company and phone number be provided from RRI and ******** acknowledged this could be done. (We have this recorded as well). She then went back on her word and refused to provide the third party information. They mentioned that they had the carpets replaced for us, which isn't true. They might have replaced the carpets before we moved in, but it was not at our request. It is common practice for rental companies to replace the carpets before a new tenant moves in, especially when they are as lightly carpeted as this house is (Only 2 12X12 rooms, 2 3X6 ft closets, and a small hallway that may be 2x2 ft). There is also a mention of cleaning the pads on the carpet, which would make 0 sense due to the small size of the carpets, unless they were trying to make it as expensive as possible. It would be much more cost effective to just replace the carpets, unless they are getting some sort of deal for the cleanings. Regardless of what they chose we should not be held liable for it when we have the above proof from the current tenant who states there was no smell for the first 2 days they lived there and that only then after those 2 days did it begin to smell (Which were days of heavy rain, in a month of extremely heavy rain.) RRI is correct that we never once complained of the musty smell of the house, because we understood what we were renting with a house that old. We knew a house that old would have leaks and cracks for water to get in especially during heavy rain days/weeks. But it is there fault for lack of oversight of the property and not doing their yearly inspections like they should have, which we can't be held liable for. They offered to furnish the documentation from the carpet company we booked that says there is a pet urine odor and we would like to take them up on that offer, because our dogs never peed on the carpet during our tenure there. Our resolution is the same, we want $560 back from our security deposit and they can keep the rest.
We do apologize for not answering this claim. We thought this was a closed case as ***** ******* is the wife of Mr. *** ****** who had complained about the issue with the carpet in claim# XXXXXXXX back in August and was closed in October. Mr. ****** and Ms. ******* let us know that their carpet company guaranteed the carpet and told us to contact them to come back out. When we did the carpet company stated they did not originally do a pet treatment and could not warranty that but did clean it again. when they called to let me know that they stated if the smell still remained they could do an estimate for pet odor removal at no cost. The odor did not come out so we called them to do the free estimate but they never showed as Mr. ****** and Ms. ******* cancelled the appointment. We then had our company come to do a pet odor treatment. The odor came out of the carpet one room but not the other and needed to be replaced. After answering Mr. ****** and Ms. ******* repetedly before the better business bureau and after they filed claims with the BBB our answer has not changed and will not change.
Complaint Resolution: BBB determined that despite the company's reasonable effort to address complaint issues, the consumer remained dissatisfied.