A normal, correct lease agreement should state that the rental should be left in the same condition it was before moving in, without the usual wear and tear.
When it comes to the carpets from the rental units, they should be cleaned before new tenants move in. So, can a landlord charge for carpet cleaning? Is it considered wear and tear? Or is it the responsibility of the tenant? There is a great debate on whether landlords can or cannot, should or should not charge their tenants for dirty carpets.
To Charge or Not to Charge? Not!
When it comes to standard carpet cleaning, landlords should not be charging their tenants. In case you did not know, carpet cleaning is usually a part of the overall turnover costs, and these are normally covered by the landlord.
In various disputes over security deposits, courts from many states often concluded that basic carpet cleaning is a part of the usual wear and tear. There are even states that have prohibited landlords to withdraw money from this deposit for basic cleaning.
If the carpet does not have any real damage, and the process does not exceed the normal rate of a professional cleaner, landlords should not charge their tenants for dirty carpets. In conclusion, landlords should take care of the costs generated by routine carpet cleaning when the tenants move out.
To Charge or Not to Charge? Charge!
In a rental property, in case the carpet is filthy or even damaged, the landlord has the right to deduct the cleaning or replacing costs from the security deposit. There have been cases when landlords discovered abuse of the carpet from the tenant. This is considered unusual damage.
Unusual damage examples include oil, pet urine, paint, or other difficult stains for which a professional carpet cleaner would require more time and, of course, charge more, compared to a routine cleaning session. For this type of damage, a landlord should, without a doubt, withhold the costs. However, they also need to provide a copy of the receipt for their itemized deductions of the security deposit in question.
The Lease Agreement
Some landlords turn the carpet cleaning responsibility over to the tenants which is stipulated in the lease agreement. In other words, by signing such an agreement, the tenant has to take care of the carpet cleaning operation when they leave the property in question.
Still, in case the tenant does not comply, the landlord does not have the right to deduct routine cleaning from the security deposit. If they want to recuperate the money, they will have to do so in another way.
It is important to keep in mind that state laws differ in how and what landlords can deduct from the security deposit. If you are a landlord, it is paramount to be updated on the topic according to your own state law. The same goes if you are a tenant. You should know the law. That way, you will have good knowledge about what responsibilities and what rights you have.
So, Who Pays?
Most serious landlords usually charge for extremely dirty and/or damaged carpets. Of course, this can happen only if their state law allows it, and if the lease provides for it.
Considering the usual wear and tear, most people, landlords and tenants alike, agree that the first category is responsible for the standard carpet cleaning. However, there are landlords who actually charge the carpet cleaning fee, and they mention that in the lease agreement.
Others, on the other hand, require the carpets to be cleaned by the tenants before they leave the rented property. Many of them are in states that do not permit deducting standard carpet cleaning from the security deposit.
As we have previously mentioned, since laws differ from state to state in this perspective, it is extremely important to know your state legislation before renting a property or going to love in a rented one.
What Should Landlords Do?
Landlords offer a property for someone else to rent, in exchange for a sum of money. Still, when they rent a space, it should be offered in decent conditions. Now, we are not going to discuss the rent costs, as this differs based on a multitude of factors. In terms of decent conditions, we are going to refer to a clean place and everything in it in a good state.
In what concerns the carpets, they should be freshly cleaned before you, as the landlord, offer the place to someone else. You can hire a professional cleaning service or handle the procedure yourself, it is up to you.
If you want to save some money, and if you have the necessary time, you can get a commercial carpet cleaner, and handle things yourself.
What Should Tenants Do?
Now, just because you live in a rented house or apartment, and it is not yours, it does not mean you should not take good care of it.
First of all, someone else has already invested in that place and all the things in it. Your moral obligation should be to take really good care of things and leave them in the same condition you found them when moving in.
Secondly, since that is where you live, even for a little while, you should ensure a clean and healthy living environment. Carpets harbor a lot of dust and other debris that can become dangerous to your health.
In case you do not have the possibility to deep clean the carpets, you should, at least, get a good commercial vacuum cleaner and use it twice a week. You will not get rid of all debris and bacteria, but you will manage to eliminate dust and dirt.
Wrapping it up
So, can a landlord charge for carpet cleaning? The answer is both yes and no. A landlord can charge for cleaning if the carpet is excessively dirty and / or damaged. A landlord cannot charge for routine cleaning.
Also, the lease agreement may stipulate that the tenants handle the carpet cleaning before they vacate the property. Still, do not forget to check your local legislation on the matter, as it may differ from state to state.