Who Pays For Carpet Cleaning Tenant or Landlord?

Not all tenants are the same; some are cooperative and well-behaved, while others may be simply careless and unethical.

You can only know so much about a tenant at the time of renting out your place, but there are potential problems that you may face & so you should keep yourself updated as to what you can and cannot do as a landlord.

In this guide, we will tackle one of the most challenging queries that both landlords and tenants have, and that is- Who pays for carpet cleaning, tenant or landlord?

Keep on reading to find out the solution to this puzzling problem.

Who Pays For Carpet Cleaning Tenant or Landlord

Can The Landlord Charge the Tenant For Carpet Cleaning?

As per the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection, a landlord cannot charge the tenant for routine carpet cleaning either as a part of a security deposit or during the rental term.

This is because carpet cleaning is one of the ongoing expenses of renting out the unit, and the landlord must pay for the same.

In fact, in disputes related to carpet cleaning, the court states that basic carpet cleaning should be a part of regular maintenance, and the tenant shouldn’t be asked to bear the expenses for it.

Additionally, the court prohibits landlords to withhold deposit money for carpet cleaning.

However, in case the tenant dirties the carpet to a great extent that is not a result of regular wear, then in such cases, the landlord can charge the tenant for professional carpet cleaning. However, if you are living in California, the rules to can landlord charge for carpet cleaning differs.

Can The Landlord Legally Deduct Money From Tenant’s Security Deposit?

Can The Landlord Legally Deduct Money From Tenant's Security Deposit

A landlord cannot deduct money for carpet cleaning from a tenant legally even if:

  • The lease states that the tenant needs to pay for carpet cleaning.
  • The lease states that the tenant will pay for carpet cleaning when they move in.
  • Or if the lease mentions the tenant has to pay for carpet cleaning when they move out.
  • If the lease includes that, the tenant must provide the landlord with a receipt showing that they got the carpet cleaned.
  • And any other rules listed in the NONSTANDARD RENTAL PROVISION.

Additionally, the landlord cannot ask the tenant to pay for carpet cleaning in advance. Anything that the tenant pays in excess of the rent is a security deposit.

Also, the landlord cannot withhold this money with them after the tenant moves out.

Who Pays For Carpet Cleaning Tenant or Landlord?

Generally, the landlord cannot charge the tenant for carpet cleaning. However, there might be circumstances when this can be allowed.

In case of any dispute between the tenant and the landlord, there are two things to be considered:

  • The law looks at the documents and pictures taken at the time when the tenant moved in.
  • They also check if the damage is a result of normal wear and tear or the consequence of the tenant’s actions.

Based on these two factors, it is decided who would pay for carpet cleaning.

However, to calculate the cost of carpet cleaning, you can simply use this calculator.

When Can The Landlord Charge the Tenant For Carpet Cleaning or Damage?

When Can The Landlord Charge the Tenant For Carpet Cleaning or Damage

No tenant is the same; you will come across both responsible and careless tenants, and in case your tenant damages your carpet to the extent that requires professional cleaning or mending, then you, as a landowner, must have some proof to make them liable for the damages.

Here are things that the landlord should do to safeguard themselves in such scenarios:

1. The carpet’s age

Ideally, a carpet lasts for ten years, and if it is nearing its lifespan, then it should show major signs of damage.

The landlord should replace the carpet at this time and shouldn’t expect the tenant to pay for the dirty or damaged carpet. But then the blazing question is how often should a landlord replace the carpet?

2. Take photographs

If you want to present solid proof to your tenant when they dirty or damage your carpet, then what better than having photos?

The landlord and the tenant should take pictures of the rental unit so that the truth can be found in case of any damages.

3. Determining the type of wear & tear

Wear and tear of a carpet is inevitable, and the landlord should determine the type of damage that is being done before blaming the tenant for any damages. Make sure you define the parameters of damage to avoid any issues.

4. Keep the Purchase receipt

The landlord should keep the purchase receipt of the carpet as it indicates the carpet’s value and life.

This would help the tenant know the value of the carpet so that they can pay the required amount in case they cause any damage.

5. Clear inventory

A clear inventory is a written document that contains the most minute details of the items in a rental property, including the details of the carpet.

So among other things, this document will contain a description of the present condition of the carpet, and the tenant is required to review this and agree in writing before moving into the apartment. These documents can be very handy in avoiding future disputes regarding damages.

What Are The Damages For Which The Landlord Can Charge The Tenant?

According to the law, a landlord can charge the tenant for “unusual damage” caused by “tenant abuse.”

Examples of unusual carpet damage include:

Any type of stain, such as urine stain, oil stains, coffee, or stains caused by any other food items, etc. So if the tenant dirties the carpet in this regard, then they will have to pay for carpet cleaning.

Additionally, if you cause any unusual damage to the carpet fibers, cause burn marks, etc., then the landlord can even charge you for getting it professionally fixed.

Hence, in case the tenant dirty the carpet with massive stains that require professional cleaning, then the landlord can deduct the expense for the same from their security deposit.

What Can a Tenant Do If The Landlord Makes Them Pay For Routine Carpet Cleaning?

What Can a Tenant Do If The Landlord Makes Them Pay For Routine Carpet Cleaning

If the tenant is being asked to pay for routine carpet cleaning, then here is what he/she can do:

  • The tenant can write a letter to the landlord explaining that they cannot charge them for routine carpet cleaning.
  • In case the landlord withholds the tenant’s security money, then he/she can file a complaint in small claims court. The tenant may be eligible for twice the amount of money withheld.
  • The tenant can also file a complaint with the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection by calling on this number 1-800-422-7128 or by visiting this site.


What if the Lease Says Tenant Has to Pay for Routine Carpet Cleaning?

A note in the Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection makes it very clear that even if the landlord mentions in the lease that the tenant has to pay for routine carpet cleaning, he cannot deduct the expenses from the tenant’s security deposit.

The money collected in advance must be treated as a security deposit, which is subject to a refund.

The deductions cannot include “normal wear and tear.” The landlord must sue the tenant separately in case they fail to pay for the routine carpet cleaning mentioned in the lease.


Wrap Up

In this guide on, who pays for carpet cleaning, the tenant or the landlord? We found out that usually, the landlords pay for carpet cleaning, but there are conditions when the tenant is required to bear the brunt.

Dirt or damages caused due to daily wear and tear is not the responsibility of the tenant, but intentional or unusual damages, such as stain marks, burns, etc., are the responsibility of the tenant.


What Is Considered Normal Wear & Tear In Carpets?

Carpets are stepped on constantly, and it also gets damaged by the moving of furniture, etc.

Over time, it also collects dust and soil. So all these things are considered normal wear and tear in carpets.

Do I have to clean the carpets when I move out?

No, most landlords do not expect you to clean or shampoo carpets before you move out.

They simply expect you to leave it in a good condition or to leave it clean enough for other tenants to move in comfortably.

In California how long after you move out can the landlord charge you for any damages made?

The landlords in California are required to disclose fees related to cleaning or damages in writing for a period of 21 days after the tenant has left the property.

The landlord can also send bills of any other unaccounted charges within this time period.

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