Can an apartment manager require carpet to be cleaned at move out?

My daughter is moving out of a student apartment. The manager is requiring a receipt for the carpet being cleaned or she will charge $40. The carpet is not stained torn or worn. My daughter has lived in the apartment for 12 months. I feel it is their responsibility to clean just normal wear carpet. the only place she has carpet is in the bedroom. The manager also stated they do not use or follow TAA lease and that they require the apt back in the shape received. Is there a TX law she has to follow?

Asked on July 28, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Landlords may not require tenants to clean carpets unless the tenant did something untoward or unusual--e.g. pet stains, spilled motor oil, red wine stains, etc. Basically, if the tenant "damaged" the carpet--caused stains or dirt above and beyond normal wear and tear--then the tenant could be required to clean it. However, normal wear and tear is the landlord's responsibility--unless the lease had specifically said that the tenant would clean upon vacating the space. (If the tenant agreed in advance to it, that agreement is enforceable.)

However, that said, your daughter should ask herself if, right or wrong, it's worth potentially having a "fight" (e.g. collections attempts; threats  of a lawsuit) over $40 or whether this is a case when discretion may be the better part of valor.

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