Dog carpet damage

Question from ck updated on 30th March 2017:

I rented a house and the carpet has been damaged by my dogs. The landlord agreed to have pets on the property. I have no contract, but I paid a one month bond. I know that I am responsible for paying for the damage. But I'm wondering to what extend am i responsible for? Am I legally responsible to pay on top of the bond? Also, if I pay for the damage, do I have to pay to replace carpet for the whole house or can the damage/carpet value be calculated by depreciation?

Our expert Bernard Parker responded:

This question is rather topical in light of recent news items about a District Court decision over damage done by dogs to a rental property’s carpet. Rather than give you advice about your liability, I will address another question that you ask – whether it is possible for you to be responsible for damage over and above the bond. The answer is yes.

The bond is a security against tenant costs, such as cleaning, damage or rent arrears. It is not intended to be a maximum amount for the tenant to pay, or any other type of limit on your liability. It is an estimate of a likely sufficient security as at the start of your tenancy.

With regard to carpet value, the Tenancy Tribunal will usually depreciate carpet over a number of years, so that your liability should be the current value of the carpet rather than the replacement cost. The landlord cannot profit by claiming more than the value of the carpet. If you are unable to resolve a dispute you can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal for a decision.

Bernard is principal of Quinovic – Kapiti-Mana. Quinovic's outstanding people and systems provide the most professional, effective and reliable residential property management service in the NZ market for over 30 years.

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