Can a landlord charge replacement value for carpet rather than the depreciated value?

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Can a landlord charge replacement value for carpet rather than the depreciated value?

The carpet is 7 years old. We lived in the house for 3 of the last 7 years. Our pet urinated on the carpet under the bed so the landlord wants to replace the entire carpet in the room where the pet urinated (and adjoining hallway and stairway where the pet did not urinate) because they want to match the carpet. The lease is silent as to whether the lessor is required to pay replacement value vs. depreciated cost. My research indicates end of life for the carpet is 7 years.

Asked on July 12, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Alabama

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

While a landlord may not charge for ordinary wear and tear, if a tenant--or a tenant's family members, guests, pets, etc.--damage the landlord's property, the landlord is entitled to the cost to repair or replace it. This is not like with insurance; the landlord is  not limited to the current depreciated value, but instead can charge the actual cost to replace or repair. He or she must charge a reasonable cost, however; while the landlord is not obligated to go with a "low ball" estimate, he or she can't charge substantially more than the ordinary reasonable cost for the repair or replacement and must be prepared to substantiate the charge  with invoices, etc.


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