I have a tenant who moved in 3 months ago and very demanding. I put in new carpets for the 1st and 2nd floor. The basement carpet was fine so I didn't replace it and she wasn't too happy about that but moved in anyways after I had it professionally cleaned TWICE. Now she is saying the carpet downstairs SMELLS and is 'disgusting' and she 'can't live there' because of it. There was a dog that used to live there so the smell may be from the dog mixed in with the smell of the basement. She is now demanding I put in new carpet because it's a 'health risk' and it is difficult for her to breath. I personally went down there and it wasn't bad at all. Am I obligated to replace the carpet because of this??
Generally, a residential landlord has a duty to maintain the property in a habitable condition. The standard of habitable is derived from the local housing code. A landlord must maintain the rental property in a way that does not endanger a tenant's health or safety. Damage caused by reasonable wear and tear usually does not create an uninhabitable condition. However, if the carpet overtly smelled bad like a dog, that may create an uninhabitable condition. If the basement is moist, and the carpet is moldy, that would create a health risk. If you have already tried cleaning the carpet, and objectively the carpet creates an uninhabitable situation, replacing the carpet is probably the next step. Perhaps, an unbiased third party should asses the carpet situation and determine whether the condition of the carpet makes the property uninhabitable and/or is a condition needing repair. In addition to statutory duties, a landlord may have additional duties created by the terms of the rental agreement. If repair is required, see RCW 59.18.070 for the time frame in which a landlord must make a repair.
This answer is intended for informational purposes only, based only on the information provided. You should not rely on this answer as specific legal advice. This answer is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. You should consult with an attorney about your specific legal concerns.
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