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Old 09-14-2009, 08:28 PM
 
28 posts, read 79,225 times
Reputation: 15

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I am in need of some legal advice and possibly someone with some previous experiences with money hungry landlords.

I'm not entirely familiar with the tenant rights in the state of Colorado, so I apologize if this post seems a bit uneducated.

I moved into this old rustic cabin back in September of 2008. The cabin is in ok shape but all the finishes (carpet, linoleum flooring in the kitchen, wood floor in living room) were all pretty worn down when I moved in. The linoleum had cuts and burn marks in it. The landlord told me to not worry about it because he was planning on replacing it whenever I moved out anyways. The carpet was very worn down and the landlord even admitted that it was on its last leg.

When I moved in, I had just gotten a puppy from the local humane society. She ended up doing some damage to the carpet upstairs and she made a decent sized hole in the linoleum flooring a lot bigger. As for the damage to the carpet, she found the seem where two pieces met and she pulled it apart and chewed up the carpet pad directly underneath the seam. I take full responsibility for the damage she caused.

Saying all of that, I've lived here for a year and I'm going to be moving out in a week or two (once the sale on my first home closes). The landlord has not had good luck trying to rent out this place in the past month because it's old, nothing is new in here and it's definitely not worth what they are trying to charge for rent.

He is stating that it is my fault that he cannot rent the place because of the condition of the cabin. He is planning on charging me half the cost to replace the entire kitchen linoleum floor and also half of the cost to replace the carpet.

My security deposit was $900 and my landlord is stating that I will have to pay above and beyond that amount.

I recently read online that carpet has a life expectancy and that if it does have to be replaced due to my negligence, then I would have to pay a portion of the life expectancy left on the carpet. In this case, I'm fairly certain that the carpet is at least 7 years old and I doubt it was even meant to be used for that long.

As for the linoleum, I'm not entirely sure if it works the same way. Does it have a life expectancy? If it had cuts and burn marks in/on it when I moved in, do I still have to pay 50% to replace it?

Also, my landlord has repeatedly come into my apartment and shown it to prospective renters during the past month without giving me any notice at all. I'll get home from work and notice that doors and windows have been opened that I always leave closed.

To add to that, my landlord broke into my place to hide from the sheriffs in June, and basically had a 30 minute standoff until he finally came out and was arrested. I was at a softball game that evening and got home right as the sheriffs arrested him. To add to that, he had let both of my dogs out of their crates that they were in and when he finally came out of the cabin, the dogs got out and ran off. One went swimming in a dirty pond while the other was running around on the county road. This was the second time in that week that he had broken into my place and hid from the sheriffs. Then on the Friday of that week, he got out of jail and when I got home from work, he was sitting in a lawn chair in front of the cabin with my home phone in his hand. He had broken in AGAIN to use my phone because his cell phone was lost.

So yeah, I've been having some difficulties with my landlord

Should I look at hiring an attorney or at least seek legal advice from a landlord-tenant lawyer?

Should I have to pay 50% of the costs to replace the old carpet and the old and damaged linoleum flooring?

Any advice and/or tips are appreciated.

I am aware that I should at least pay for something as one of my dogs did do damage. I just don't think I should have to pay more than my deposit. Especially because the flooring in this place were old, worn down and damaged before I moved in.
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Old 09-15-2009, 08:14 AM
 
Location: Canon City, Colorado
1,331 posts, read 4,517,164 times
Reputation: 677
Holy crappola!!!!!!!! I cannot believe you have lasted this long!!
I wouldn't give this "criminal landlord" a thing!!
I think you will have to get an attorney because, you obviously wont be getting anything back and he will continue to persue your pocketbook!
For gosh sakes....what a nightmare!!
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Old 09-15-2009, 08:24 AM
 
Location: Cambridge, Nebraska
137 posts, read 552,577 times
Reputation: 192
You will likely need a lawyer for this guy... he obviously knows a little about how the system works since he's been involved with it a few times it sounds like. Take pictures of areas both damaged and not. Try to get closeups of wear and tear areas not damaged by your pets. It's about your only defense against a he said / he said situation.

Good luck... I hope you don't really need it. Are you certain the guy really owns the property in the first place and isn't just "homesteading"?
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Old 09-15-2009, 08:44 AM
 
28 posts, read 79,225 times
Reputation: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by SheridanL View Post
Holy crappola!!!!!!!! I cannot believe you have lasted this long!!
I wouldn't give this "criminal landlord" a thing!!
I think you will have to get an attorney because, you obviously wont be getting anything back and he will continue to persue your pocketbook!
For gosh sakes....what a nightmare!!
Yeah I probably should've moved out of there a while ago. However, having two dogs, one being a pit bull mix, it's nearly impossible to find another place to rent.

Thank you for the advice, I think I will be contacting an attorney soon. My landlord needs to learn that he can't just do what he wants.
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Old 09-15-2009, 08:48 AM
Status: "Celebrating 30 years as a Broker" (set 16 days ago)
 
Location: Just south of Denver since 1989
10,882 posts, read 29,301,674 times
Reputation: 7085
Look to see if you county has a landlord tenant complaint dept.

DO you have photos of the carpet/vinyl from when you moved in?
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Old 09-15-2009, 08:48 AM
 
28 posts, read 79,225 times
Reputation: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Off Pavement View Post
You will likely need a lawyer for this guy... he obviously knows a little about how the system works since he's been involved with it a few times it sounds like. Take pictures of areas both damaged and not. Try to get closeups of wear and tear areas not damaged by your pets. It's about your only defense against a he said / he said situation.

Good luck... I hope you don't really need it. Are you certain the guy really owns the property in the first place and isn't just "homesteading"?
Yeah I'll be taking pictures for sure. I have pictures of the place right when I moved in and you can clearly see how old it is. However, I didn't take pictures of some of the pre-existing damages, because I'm an idiot.

The funny thing is, I know of two other tenants that live in other apartments that my landlord owns and they are all having the same type of problems. One of them is already seeking legal action.

He does own the property, but he also doesn't work and his wife doesn't have a well paying job (just an assumption). So they are pretty desperate for whatever cash they can get.

Even the headaches that come with home ownership won't compare to this
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Old 09-15-2009, 08:50 AM
 
28 posts, read 79,225 times
Reputation: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2bindenver View Post
Look to see if you county has a landlord tenant complaint dept.

DO you have photos of the carpet/vinyl from when you moved in?
I do have pictures of the carpet and vinyl. Mainly as background though. So there are no direct shots of previous damage. I know, I'm an idiot. But looking at the pictures, you can tell the place is old and the floor and carpet are old.
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Old 09-15-2009, 08:56 AM
 
Location: Golden, CO
2,181 posts, read 5,612,094 times
Reputation: 2072
I know this doesn't help with the legal aspects of this, but carpet and vinyl aren't extremely expensive to begin with, so I really doubt that your half of the expenses would be above and beyond $900 unless the cabin is some sort of huge mansion. If you DO have to pay, be sure to ask for copies of the bills/receipts.

Good luck and let us know how this turns out!
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Old 09-15-2009, 09:02 AM
 
28 posts, read 79,225 times
Reputation: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by cowboyxjon View Post
I know this doesn't help with the legal aspects of this, but carpet and vinyl aren't extremely expensive to begin with, so I really doubt that your half of the expenses would be above and beyond $900 unless the cabin is some sort of huge mansion. If you DO have to pay, be sure to ask for copies of the bills/receipts.

Good luck and let us know how this turns out!
I totally agree. Carpet and vinyl are on the cheaper side of floor finishes. I work in construction so I have an estimator at my disposal if I need to get a quote in order to refute my landlord's claim that the linoleum he was going to buy was $4 a square foot, when it really is only $1-$2 a square foot.

The cabin is maybe 1000 square feet and the carpet is only in the upstairs loft area. The vinyl flooring is in the kitchen only. So not a lot of area to be covered.

I guess my main question is: Does linoleum/vinyl flooring have a life expectancy like carpet does? Granted linoleum is supposed to be a very durable product, but if it hasn't been replaced in 10 years, I think that is a bit much.
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Old 09-15-2009, 09:09 AM
 
Location: Na'alehu Hawaii/Buena Vista Colorado
4,872 posts, read 9,612,498 times
Reputation: 4941
I wouldn't be spending too much time overthinking the life expentancy of certain flooring. The bottom line is, he may be able to get away with charging you to fix things that he claims you broke. You've already admitted that you didn't take pictures when you moved in (a valuable lesson learned for next time) so there's no proof of what was there before. And if he already has your deposit, he'll just keep it and you are going to have to fight to get it back.

Since you've talked with other tenants of his who are also having problems, I suggest that you consider going in together to hire an attorney. That way everyone saves money and you probably would have a better case than if it's just you trying to prove that it's his fault.

Colorado's tenant/landlord laws are very weak and definitely favor the landlord. You probably won't get any help from the county.
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