If a carpet was not new when you moved in and you damage to it, must you may for replacement carpeting when you move out?

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If a carpet was not new when you moved in and you damage to it, must you may for replacement carpeting when you move out?

We just moved out of a duplex that we rented for about a 1 1/2 years. We have 4 chihuahuas and we do realize there was damage done to the carpet. The carpet was not new when we moved in. We paid $1000 pet deposit and a $600 security deposit. We cleaned the duplex before we moved out. We just received a letter from the landlord stating this is what we owe: $500 for one-half pet, $2,733 for carpet replacement, $125 for cleaning, $40.14 for cleaning supplies, and $6.13 for smoke alarm batteries. The letter states the total amount owed is $3404.27.

Asked on August 5, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

While tenants are not liable for ordinary wear and tear, or the typical end-of-tenancy, new-tenant-moving-in cleaning, they are responsible for damage they do to the apartment or rental premises. Included under the rubric of damage is beyond-the-normal cleaning occasioned by actions of the tenants and their pets, family, friends, etc. If the tenants damage something, like carpet, even if its not new, if it can't be cleaned or repaired effectively, they'd have to pay for replacement.

Pet stains would certainly qualify as damage. If it were possible to remove them fully, so the carpet is in the shape it was when you moved in (less 1 year of extra ordinary wear), you might have a case for requiring that it be cleaned not replaced--and only paying cleaning cost. If the landlord can reasonably show it had to be replaced, you would need to pay for that. However, you should not pay for things like cleaning supplies for the regular, end-of-lese cleaning or batteries for the smoke alarm--that's normal wear and tear.

The landlord may apply your deposit vs. legitimate charges and bill (and if necessary, sue) you for the rest.


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