Carpets are susceptible to stains, tears, molds, and whatnot. And sooner or later, their replacement becomes necessary. But when do you replace carpets? Do landlords have to replace carpet or tenants?
How often can the tenant expect the landlord to pay for repairs or replacements? Find out answers to these and more questions that you may have about carpet replacement for rented apartments in this guide.
Who is Supposed to Pay For Replacing the Carpet?
The cost to replace carpet typically runs between $10 to $20 per square foot installed. So replacing a 1,000-square-foot carpet would require $1,500 on average.
So because of this hefty carpet replacement charge, the landlord could have a negative cash flow for six months or even more. This is why the landlord may charge the tenant, and a fair way to do this would be on a pro-rata basis.
So, for example: Suppose a tenant moved in when the carpet was 2 years old and moved out the next year.
Then the landlord can charge the tenant for the remaining two years of useful life. So if the carpet costs $1000, then the share of the tenant would be $1000 / remaining two years = $500.
Do Landlords Have To Replace Carpet?
According to Implied Warranty of Habitability, even if your lease or rental agreement doesn’t require any specific repairs, the landlords must keep their property habitable.
So landlords have to replace carpets that are damaged already, have mold, are unhygienic or got burnt by accident, or are inhospitable. They also have to replace the carpet for damage caused due to daily wear and tear.
However, if the damage is caused by the tenant, then the landlord may charge the tenant for it.
When is the Tenant Required to Pay For Carpet Replacement?
The tenant may be asked to pay for carpet replacement when they have done irreparable damage to the carpet.
As a rule, no state requires the landlord to replace or repair a carpet that has been damaged by the tenant.
And if the landlord decides to replace or repair the damage done by the tenant, then the tenant will have to pay for the same.
Also, note that some states allow the landlord to terminate the lease early if the tenant damages the property of the landlord.
Can The Tenants Replace The Carpet On Their Own?
In case you do not like the carpet of your rented apartment, you may feel like replacing it.
However, since carpet replacement can add a big change to the space, the you should talk to your landlord about this first.
Since the place is not the tenant’s property, the landlord may view any changes that you make without their permission as intentional damage or vandalism.
So make sure to get written permission from your landlord before you decide to put money out of your pocket to replace the carpet.
If you want to know how much it will cost you to replace a carpet, you can use this calculator to ease your work and save time.
Security Deposit for Carpet Replacement
If a tenant poses damage to a carpet beyond normal wear and tear, then the landlord may charge the tenant for the damage caused or may withhold all or a part of the security deposit.
So check your local state or attorney laws first and then follow these steps:
The landlord must take pictures of the condition of the property before the tenant moves in, during routine inspections while they are living in, and at the time of their move out as well.
This will act as proof and will allow the landlord to charge for damages that are caused by the tenants.
Consider this: your tenant caused irreparable damage to a four-year-old carpet costing $2500 that had a lifespan of five years.
Since because of the damage done by the tenant, the useful life of the carpet is reduced by a year, the landlord can charge the tenant.
So the pro-rata share of the tenant would be $500 ($2500 original cost / 5-year useful life).
Let the Tenant Know
The next step would be to notify the tenant, telling them that their security deposit is being held owing to the damage caused by them. The notification needs to be sent 14 days after the lease ends or the tenants move out.
The letter that the landlord will send to the tenant for the damage done will include:
- Date & time.
- Manager’s or landlord’s name.
- Address of the property.
- The amount being withheld.
- Images & description of damages.
- Tenant’s pro-rata share.
- Proof of security deposit balance that is being returned and the mode of payment.
How Often Should a Landlord Replace Carpet?
There is no rule of thumb as to when the carpet should definitely be replaced. How often a landlord should replace a carpet depends on the following:
The average lifespan for medium-grade carpets can be anywhere between five-fifteen years. And for apartment carpets, this could be as less as five years. So the landlord must replace the carpet before it has been used beyond its age.
Water Damage or Mold
Carpets that have been a victim of water damage can give rise to molds, and moldy carpets need to be replaced at all costs.
This is because moldy carpets are unhygienic and can pose a danger to the tenant’s health.
You may spill coffee on your carpet, or your guest might spill wine on the carpet; accidents happen.
Although most stains can be removed if treated immediately, some might be a lost cause. In case of unmanageable stains, the tenant might have to end up replacing the carpet.
Regular wear and tear may lead to the fibers breaking and the carpet tearing away. Once your carpet starts tearing away, there’s no saving it.
A torn-out carpet not only ruins the look of your apartment but can also cause the tenant to fall. Hence, it is important to replace the carpet in such cases.
Carpeted floors are infamous for trapping smells, be it cigarette smell, mildew smell, pet pee smell, etc.
No one would like to move into an apartment that smells horribly. So when this happens, it’s time to throw away and replace the old carpet.
What is the Lifespan of Carpets?
According to the IRS publication 527, the carpet in a residential property wears out after five years.
However, this does not mean that you have to replace the carpet in every five years. This just offers a general depreciation time for carpets.
You can also have your carpet get cleaned once or twice a year. But then who pays for carpet cleaning, tenant or the landlord?
Cleaning and maintaining carpets is a tricky business in itself, and the confusion around who pays for what in a rental property makes it even more tricky.
However, in this guide, we tried to simplify it for you and answered your doubts about do landlords have to replace carpets.
So as a general rule, carpets must be replaced within 5-7 years, depending on their condition, and for irreparable damages done by the tenant, the tenant must pay for the carpet.
And for daily wear and tear, the landlord must bear the brunt.
When is the landlord supposed to replace the carpet?
Landlords are required to replace carpets when the carpet reaches the end of its lifespan.
They might have to replace a carpet even before if the carpet has irreparable damage, stains, smell, mold, etc.
Can a landlord charge the tenant for routine cleaning?
Routine carpet cleaning is generally the responsibility of the tenant and is one of the expenses that the landlord must bear as a part of operating a rental property.
What is a carpet's depreciation life?
A carpet’s depreciation life is ideally five years, but this applies only to tacked-down carpets. For carpets that are glued down to the floor, the depreciation time becomes 27.5 years.
Daleyza knows a lot about carpets! She has worked with carpets for over 7 years and can help with things like putting them in, keeping them clean, and replacing them. She really likes carpets and spends most of her time learning about new ways to work with them. When she’s not learning about carpets, she enjoys reading books. She’s really good at helping people choose the right carpet for their homes and making sure they’re happy with it. If you want to know more about carpets, Daleyza is the person to talk to!