A lease agreement states that tenants must leave the rental in the same condition it was in upon moving in, minus normal wear and tear. Normal carpet wear and tear can include some thinning or dirt, which the landlord should budget for turnaround costs. A landlord can deep clean the carpets themselves or hire house cleaning services, like Urban Care in Auckland, New Zealand, before a new tenant moves in. Keep in mind when such fees should be taken out of the security deposit or not.
When Landlords Should Charge a Tenant for Dirty or Damaged Carpets
Once landlords discover unusual damage to the carpet caused by the tenant, they can deduct the costs for professional cleaning services from the tenant’s security deposit. Such damage includes stubborn stains like oil, paint, coffee, wine, or even urine and vomit. There is no other way than to hire professional carpet cleaners to remove such stains. If the landlord must replace the entire carpet due to heavy stains or damage, he is well within their rights to withhold the security deposit and use it for the replacement.
Although some landlords include terms in the lease agreement wherein the tenant must have the carpets professionally cleaned before leaving the apartment. But if the tenant fails to do so, landlords can’t deduct the standard cleaning from the deposit. Landlords also need to know their state laws as these differ in how they can deduct from the security deposit. Such knowledge is important to avoid misunderstandings between the landlord and the tenant.
When Landlords Should Not Charge a Tenant for Dirty or Damaged Carpets
In most cases, landlords must not charge standard carpet cleaning from the tenant as part of the overall turnover costs. Courts have also often considered basic carpet cleaning to be part of normal wear and tear. Landlords must also consider state laws because some states prohibit landlords from withholding money from the deposit for basic cleaning.
If the landlord chooses to charge the tenant for carpet cleaning or damages, accountability will be necessary. The landlord must share records with the tenant, including itemized receipts and deductions. This procedure will be required, especially if this involves the use of the security deposit.
The landlord must prove that the tenant did excess damage to charge the tenant. Keep in mind that the cost of cleaning, repairing, or replacing the carpet must be above the price of standard cleaning services.
Who pays for carpet cleaning, the tenant or the landlord?
As discussed earlier, most landlords only charge for filthy carpet if the lease provides for it and the state allows it. For a standard carpet cleaning, most people, even the courts, agree that landlords are responsible for it as this is considered normal wear and tear.
Although it is possible to charge the tenant for carpet cleaning or damages, sufficient evidence will be needed. For example, before and after photographs when a tenant moves in can prove the carpet’s state. Record keeping can ensure that charging the tenant is an option if need be. What is the age of the carpet? If it’s more than 10 years old, the landlord must consider replacing it. Consider wear and tear before charging the tenant as well. Having a clear inventory, complete with purchase receipts, should also be kept for record-keeping.
It would be naïve to assume that all tenants are responsible human beings when it comes to taking care of a rental. With different tenants come different manners. Some are very careful and clean with their surroundings, while others don’t seem to care if their place is run down. Knowing when and when not to charge the tenant for dirty or damaged carpets will be essential to avoid misunderstandings, or worse, court cases.
Always make sure that you understand your lease agreement before signing it and moving to your new home. This is to ensure that when it’s time to move from the property, you’re not risking your security deposit over an unclean carpet or property.
Julie is a passionate writer a mother of three kids and a dedicated cleaning enthusiast, eager to share valuable insights and practical tips on maintaining a clean and organized home. With a deep understanding of the challenges of maintaining a tidy living space, Julie has spent years honing its expertise in cleaning methods, organizing techniques, and sustainable practices.