It is estimated that approximately 60% of American households have at least one cat or dog. Many of these homes have multiple pets. I myself have one cat and have had other single cats in various places I have lived in the past. We love our cat and she brings us a lot of joy. It is understandable that peoples’ pets are loved and respected as a family member. What is not as understandable is when pets are allowed to treat a home or any part of a home as their personal litter box or chew toy. When this behavior is overlooked or ignored, the damages to a property can be quite extensive and costly to amend. With rentals, landlords will usually charge an addendum pet deposit, as a hedge against possible or likely repairs performed when the tenant moves. This stems from either past experience with pet problems or insurance claims. We have probably all entered into homes where the aroma of cat urine is overpowering. Often, when the cats move out, their perfume doesn’t.
As a general contractor, I have quite a long list of major repairs that were required in order to ready a home to rent or sell. You can imagine the costs involved in replacing every door, door frame, window sill, and all the floor coverings in a house with as many 18 pit bulls at a time. I don’t think beavers could have done a better job at chewing through everything. I once repaired the rental of a fellow who lived there with four dogs (German shepherds), one pig, and two chickens in the house. Of course, I suggested a bulldozer, but the owner insisted that it should be saved. His repair bill was just under $30,000.00. Repairs included all new flooring, new drywall, new sub-floors in most areas, new vanities, lower cabinets, countertops, new doors, paint, etc. In addition, the house had to be fumigated twice for fleas before the other work even began. Granted, these cases seem a bit extreme, but I have had to replace sub-floors and flooring in homes with as few as two cats. And animal related repairs are not limited to cats and dogs. Birds, especially parrots, and ferrets can have quite an impact on a house. My old friend had an ocelot that loved to scratch.
All that a Bellingham, Wa. Home Inspector can do is to see, and possibly smell, the damages caused by wayward pets, and make recommendations as to possible amendments. That’s it for now, as my fat cat is begging for food, and she gets ornery if I take too long. Allmann Home Inspection Services in Bellingham and Blaine, Wa. 360-371-0260 or 360-739-7361.