I moved to AZ and was unable to personally inspect the unit prior to signing a lease. I noticed the carpets smelled like pet urine within 48 hours and noted this in the move in checklist.

I eventually got ahold of the landlord and they sent carpet cleaners to the unit but after several days the urine scent is still very present.

Am I able to break the lease if I feel the carpet poses a health risk or do I somehow need to prove it's a health risk? What are they required to do to remedy?

https://housing.az.gov/general-public/landlord-and-tenant-act https://housing.az.gov/sites/default/files/documents/files/Landlord-Tenant-Act-ADOH-Publication-July-2018_0.pdf

1 Answer 1


Whether the carpet is a health risk is a question of fact. Your inexpert opinion counts for little; you would have to bring evidence to show that the carpet does in fact present a health risk, probably in the shape of written evidence from an expert (e.g. a doctor). Unfortunately mere smell is almost certainly not a health risk, so you are out of luck on that front.

(Side note: carpet cleaning services vary. Your landlord probably just got someone cheap to do a quick shampoo of the whole carpet. If you can find out where the smell is coming from then you can probably do a better job yourself with proprietary urine-odour removers from a pet store.)

  • Indeed, the quick shampoo would only treat the surface fibers, but damage can soak through to the padding and subflooring, and it need not even be restricted to the carpet alone. In severe cases there will be no recourse other than to completely remove all carpets, have professionals specializing in severe pet damages clean the floors (and probably walls), and then completely recarpet the house. It can only take a matter of months for bad pet owners, especially those with unneutered male cats (spraying), to basically wreck the home like this. Jul 25, 2020 at 12:47
  • If the pet urine is causing mold to grow under/in the carpet, this would qualify as a health risk, correct? Jul 25, 2020 at 20:53
  • @alexplouff Possibly, though existence and harmfulness would still need to be verified by an expert for it to have any serious legal use, and you'd want to check your rental agreement to be sure you sought that in an appropriate fashion. Not all molds are particularly harmful, and some are more readily remedied than others. Jul 26, 2020 at 8:52
  • Thank you for your input Jul 27, 2020 at 19:11

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