hen a tenant is moving out, they must leave the rental premises in good condition. Most leases require it. They require that a tenant leave the premises in the same condition they found it, less normal wear and tear.
So, what happens when a tenant leaves the carpet looking all filthy and dirty? Should you charge them for its cleaning or should you not?
If you came here looking to get answers to this common question, then you have landed in the right place.
When are landlords responsible for carpet cleaning?
There are certain times that the responsibility for carpet cleaning solely lies with the landlord. This is generally the case when carpet cleaning is part of the overall cost of tenant turnover.
In disputes involving security deposits, courts have been on record stating that carpet cleaning is the landlord’s responsibility. Some states even prohibit landlords from deducting basic cleaning costs from a tenant’s security deposit.
Generally, landlords are only allowed to charge tenants if the carpet has actual damage or requires professional cleaning. In other words, the costs of routine carpet cleaning are yours to shoulder as the landlord.
When should landlords charge tenants for dirty carpets?
You have a right to charge your tenant for excessive dirt or damage to your carpet. Tenant abuse of the carpeting also falls under excessive damage. Examples of tenant abuse of the carpeting include pet urine, paint, oil, or stains.
In these cases, professional carpet cleaning services would be mandatory. So, when a tenant is moving out, it’ll be within your right as a landlord to deduct the appropriate costs from the tenant's security deposit.
Some landlords include details about carpet cleaning in their lease agreement by stating that tenants must clean carpets before moving out.This is the case where the local laws permit doing so. Landlords in some states aren’t that lucky, though.
What you can and can’t include in your lease agreement depends on your state laws. That’s why it’s important to be well versed in your state’s landlord-tenant laws.
Pro Tips for Landlords
Here are some tips to help you avoid potential issues concerning responsibility for carpet damage:
- - Document the condition of the property before the tenant moves in. Take pictures and document any existing problems, if any. Doing so will help minimize issues when the time for the tenant to leave comes.
- - Know the carpet’s life expectancy. Generally, carpet lifespan is usually about 3-5 years. As the carpet nears its lifespan, the fibers usually become old and frayed.
- - Advise your tenants on how best to care for the carpet. You can even provide them recommendations of a quality stain remover spray to help with the carpet’s maintenance.
- - Include carpet-related lease terms in the lease agreement. Before doing this, first, make sure it’s completely legal to do so in your state. Some states allow deducting standard carpet cleaning from the deposit, while others don’t.
What else can landlords deduct from a tenant’s security deposit?
Perhaps what tenants often misunderstand is the difference between normal wear and tear and excessive property damage. Normal wear and tear aredamages that result fromnormal aging. Examples include:
- - Warped cabinet doors that won’t close.
- - Doors sticking from humidity.
- - Scuffed varnish on wood floors from regular use.
- - Faded or dirty lamp or window shades.
- - Faded or slightly torn wallpaper.
- - A few small cracks, scrapes, dents, smudges, or chips in the walls.
As the landlord, the responsibility to fix these lies with you. Your tenant, on the other hand, becomes responsible for excessive property damage. This is any damage that results from their negligence. Examples include:
- - Dented front panels or shelf in the refrigerator.
- - Broken or missing curtains or mini-blinds.
- - Clogged drains or sinks due to things like food, diapers, and hair.
- - Broken or chipped enamel in sinks and bathtubs.
- - Cracked or missing bathroom tiles.
- - Broken or ripped off doors or windows.
When your tenant causes any of these, you have a right to make the appropriate deductions from their security deposit.
There you have it. Everything you need to know about responsibility for carpet damage. It’s within your right as a landlord to make the appropriate deductions from a tenant’s deposit when professional cleaning is required. In other cases, however, you may needto look at what your local laws state in regards to charging tenants for standard carpet cleaning.