How old should a carpet be before a landlord has to replace it with no charge to the tenant?

We lived in a townhouse for about 5 1/2 years. The carpet was old when we moved in, seams were coming up where they patched areas including an 8 ft area and some 3-4 ft areas. It got worse and worse through-out the years and the leasing manager told us they would replace it and never did. When we moved out they took our $500 security deposit and charged us an additional $200. The carpet was de-laminated showing the age and it was well over 7 years old. Should I be responsible for the cost to replace all the carpet?

Asked on July 29, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No. Tenants are not responsible for ordinary wear-and-tear. Carpets wear out; it is the landlord's responsibility to replace them, unless and only to the extent that the tenant has agreed otherwise. Typically, tenants are responsible for carpets if they damaged them--e.g. if the tenant spilled something that won't come out, ripped it, etc.

Therefore, if the landlord took your security deposit and/or charged you additional sums to replace a worn-out carpet that you did not nothing untoward or unusual to, the landlord acted improperly. You may wish to speak with an attorney about recovering your security deposit.

For future reference, note that there is no hard and fast rule for when a landlord must replace a carpet. If it becomes a *serious* threat to life and limb, a tenant might be able to resort to the "implied warranty of habitability" to force a repair; but since that warranty is usually invoked for lack of working heat or plumbing, you can imagine how extremem circumstances would have to be before a carpet might qualify for invoking it.


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