Can our landlord charge us for replacing the entire carpet in our apartment if there is only one bleach stain in the master bedroom?

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Can our landlord charge us for replacing the entire carpet in our apartment if there is only one bleach stain in the master bedroom?

They noted that the rest of the carpet was “OK” but their policy is to replace the carpet because they say carpet fades overtime and the master bedroom would not match the rest of the apartment. The carpet was 1 year and 9 months old at the time we vacated. If they do have the right to charge us, do we have the right to ask for the old carpet?

Asked on September 7, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In most leases the tenant pays a security deposit to cover for damages that have arisen during the occupation of the unit. If you have a written lease for the rental, read it carefully in that its terms and conditions control the obligations owed to you by the landlord and vice versa in the absence of conflicting state law.

If your lease has a provision regarding security deposits and damages, its provisions will govern the carpet issue you are dealing with.

If the carpet was damaged with a bleach stain in the master bedroom, a portion of the carpet needs to be replaced at your cost. Either a patch can be made to that area with matching carpet and if not, only that room needs to have new carpet.

As to new carpet over the entire unit due to claimed "fading" issues, normal wear and tear are not typical damages needing to be paid out of a tenant's security deposit. Landlords typically claim carpet repair damages at the end of the lease hoping that the tenant pays such out of the security deposit without complaint. If this happens, half the time the landlord pockets the money earmarked for carpet repair and make no new installation.

Good luck.


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