Carpet replacement and carpet damage in rental properties. This is somewhat of a grey area and the law can be complex to say the least. Professional carpet cleaners, as good as we are, cannot fix wear and cannot remove permanent stains.
Questions that tenants and landlords ask – include;
- When does a landlord have to replace the carpets?
- When does a tenant have to pay for damage or replace the carpets?
- What is classed as reasonable wear and tear?
- Should the carpets be professionally cleaned before a tenant moves in?
- Should the carpets be cleaned when a tenant moves out?
- When should an insecticide be used and who is responsible?
- How should a tenant maintain the carpets?
The Landlord and Letting Agent
Nowadays most letting agents and landlords will put a clause in the contract that states when your tenancy ends you must get the carpets professionally cleaned. That doesn’t mean you can hire a Rug Doctor and do it yourself! You would think then that when you move into a rental the carpets will have been cleaned professionally. Like for like. Trust me – it doesn’t always happen so always check, and check your contract before signing.
How many years before carpets are replaced? There is no set rule as the quality of carpets varies so much plus the way they have been treated. I’ve seen carpets 20 years old that still look like new. I’ve seen carpets 1-year-old that are wrecked!
Unfortunately most landlords, not all, will take their carpets to the limit and beyond. The agent will normally side with the landlord with regards to when carpets need replacing. It’s all about the rent!
How to Check Carpet Wear
Make sure you study the carpets carefully. Have a look around the edges and where furniture has been placed. This will show the original carpet. Compare this to high wear areas. Calculate the life expectancy. If the carpet smells and is heavily stained then also build this in to your calculations. Is it “Fit for Purpose”. Is it reasonable to supply these carpets for the rent you are paying? Will you be liable for the damage that already exists? Be careful people because many become caught out.
The Tenant & Responsibility
Before you commit and sign a rental agreement make sure you are happy with the condition of the carpets. The wear rate must be noted along with any damage and stains. It’s also worth noting in the agreement the exact age of the carpets. Take pictures. Ask to see sight of the carpet cleaning receipt! You are responsible – so check and re-check. If you are not happy make sure you resolve any issues or walk away, otherwise it could cost you your deposit. Treat renting a property like renting a car. You must check it over before you sign. Any damage has to be noted otherwise you pay! Common sense folks.
The Landlord Should……
- Get the last tenant to clean the carpets or if this is the first rent get them cleaned professionally
- Repair any damage or replace badly worn and stained carpets
- Replace or clean carpets that smell because of animals and unhygienic people
- Replace the underlay if the carpet has been soiled by humans or animals (vomit, faeces, urine, etc.)
- Provide hard-wearing or quality carpets when possible (as cheap will wear prematurely)
- Expect reasonable wear and tear on carpets, plus the occasional mark or marks when renting
- Ensure the letting agent lists any stains, damage and wear
Our Final Thought
We see many cases where the tenant gets caught out. Moving into a property when the carpets had not been professionally cleaned is quite common. “They look cleaner than when we moved in!” – is normally the response after we clean.
Deposits held because the tenant got the carpets cleaned but did not get an insecticide sprayed. Fleas can be a major problem with tenants who have animals. Most carpet cleaners can legally use insecticides so check your contract.
Deposits held because the carpets are in worse condition than when the tenant moved in. If your stay is longer than 18 months then consider an interim carpet clean. It will save the carpets from premature wear and difficult stains. Think about rugs and runners for high traffic areas. Protect the carpet as much as possible. Treat stains and spills immediately and DO NOT USE shop bought stain removers!