What to do if mylandlord refused to professionally clean carpets over a period of 4 years and now wants $1200?

Management refused to have the carpeting professionally cleaned despite the fact I asked them several times to do so(unfortunately this was verbally only, I have no written proof). The lease stated that tenants could not hire an outside company for cleaning. As one would expect, there was dark staining in the living area after 4 years without being professionally cleaned. They are now demanding $1200 for cleaning and replacement of the carpet. I feel this is a scam to get tenants to buy them new carpeting; I took good care of the unit and less this charge they owed me money from my deposit. Would I be successful if I take this to court?

Asked on September 1, 2011 Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

A landlord is under no obligation to clean carpets unless the lack of cleaning gives rise to health conditions (e.g. mold) which have to be remediated. So the landlord could refuse to clean the carpets for years. On the other hand, they can't collect money from a tenant (e.g. from the tenant's security deposit) for normal wear and tear, even years of accumulated wear and tear. A landlord is ony entitled to money to clean, repair, and/or replace carpet if the tenant, tenant's family or guests, or tenant's pets, specifically damaged the carpet in some way (tore it; pet urine or red wine stains; etc.). So if the landlord let the carpet go until it has to be professional cleaned or repaired, that is the landlord's choice and the landlord's cost.

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