Can a landlordmake a tenant pay to replace all the carpeting in an apartment if only one area in the living room showed wear and tear?

I have lived in an apartment for 2 years. I have decided to move. The apartment states that the living room has wear and tear to it so they need to replace the carpet in the entire apartment and charge me for the cost.

Asked on March 7, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Tennessee


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You are not responsible for ordinary wear and tear--that is the landlord's responsibility. As a tenant, you would only be responsible for damage you, your family, your guests, or your pets did, which exceeds ordinary wear and tear: for example, pet urine or red wine stains, rips from moving your furniture around, cigarrette burns, etc.

If you are responsible for this damage, then whether you can be made to replace all the carpet depends on the circumstances. Basically, if the only way to have matching carpet in the carpetted areas (assuming that it had been matching before) would to replace it all, then you could be forced to pay for total replacement. If matching is not an issue or if the damaged section can be replaced and matched, then you should probably only be charged for that. The idea is, if you do damage beyond normal wear and tear, you are responsible for the costs to set things right, whatever that reasonably costs.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.