Is there a law that requires tenants to have carpets professionally cleaned when moving out?

There is no mention of cleaning the carpets in my lease- it states that the apartment is to be left in the same condition as upon move-in, minus normal wear and tear. I actually did call a professional carpet cleaner out to my apt but he stated that the carpet was already very clean and in good condition (and wrote that on my receipt). He said that the only change if he cleaned them would be the pattern left on the carpet from the steamer. The landlord stated that even though the carpets looked good it was state law for tenants to have carpets professionally cleaned. Is this true?

Asked on October 18, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

With the influx of bed bugs becoming rampant in the United States and mold, there may very well be new laws or local ordinances that have come into being requiring such cleaning to stem the tide of bed bug infestations or similar infestations. The landlord tenant acts in Washington State do not appear to speak on this issue, though the landlord can charge a non-refundable cleaning fee, but it must be so designated as a non-refundable fee. Contact the health department in the state and your local building and safety department to find out if a local ordinance is coming into play or if this is merely something the landlord seems to make up. My guess is the landlord does not understand the nuances of the law and is assuming that professional carpet cleaning is required in residential tenancies as there may be a requirement in commercial leases or hotels and the like.


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