Landlords cannot charge for a complete carpet replacement unless the tenant fully damaged brand-new carpets. Landlords cannot charge the tenant for repairs or replacement if the carpet has only been subject to normal wear and tear.
What is the Difference Between Carpet Damage and Normal Wear and Tear?
Normal wear and tear of a carpet is expected after day-to-day use and not chargeable to the tenant. Due to daily use, carpets naturally wear down and may become discolored and indented from foot traffic.
Carpets become damaged when tenants and their guests and pets use them in a non-typical, abusive way.
|Normal Wear and Tear
|Gentle wearing from daily use
|Heavy wearing down to thread
|Fading due to age or sunlight
|Stains or major discoloration
|Mild indentations from furniture
|Rips and tears
|Pet hair left behind
|Odors from pets
In a dispute between a landlord and tenant over security deposit deductions, judges look at evidence like photos, receipts, and inventory checklists to determine if the deduction is due to normal wear and tear or damage.
Landlords can often avoid disputes over carpet charges by carefully documenting the damage, itemizing the charges, and limiting the charge to a reasonable amount.
How Much Can a Landlord Charge or Deduct for Carpet Replacement?
Although no state laws explicitly limit the amount that landlords can charge for damaged carpet, the law requires that the charge is reasonable.
Landlords can ensure that charges are reasonable by:
- Only charging for the replacement of the damaged area
- Collecting multiple quotes to determine typical market rates for labor
- Prorating the useful lifespan of the carpet
Can a Landlord Charge or Deduct to Re-carpet the Entire Unit?
If a tenant only damages a certain area of the rental unit, they should only be charged for the replacement of that area. Furthermore, tenants should not be charged for the replacement of a carpet that needs to be replaced due to its age.
What is the Useful Life of Carpet?
Carpet typically lasts 5 to 10 years before it needs to be replaced. The lifespan varies depending on the quality, installation, and number of tenants.
If the carpet is expected to last 8 years, tenants cannot be charged for the replacement of the carpet after 8 years despite the level of damage. Furthermore, to ensure that the charge of carpet replacement is reasonable, landlords can prorate the cost of replacement.
A tenant damages a $2,000 carpet beyond repair. The carpet has an expected lifespan of 8 years and the tenant moves out after a 2-year tenancy when the carpet is 6 years old. By prorating the remaining lifespan (2 years), the landlord should only charge $500 for the carpet replacement.