My tenant would like the carpet replaced...What should I do?

30 Replies

Hello BP family,

Okay, Here's the situation ...My tenant of moved into my townhouse in January of 2017. Since then she has had a long laundry list of replacement request. To make a long story short...The carpet in the house is about 15 years old however, it's decent, not perfect. The tenant is complaining that it has been cleaned three times and still seem to need attention. She is advising that it is old and some of the stains have not been removed...Therefore, she is requesting that I replace it. Since her arrival January I have replaced blinds for the whole house, replace a master bathroom sink that was leaking and rewired the garage door. Her lease ends in January 2018...Should I advise her that I will replace the carpet at the end of her lease if she renews or just say no if she renews or not?? HELP!  P.S. Should her rent be raised if I replace the carpet?

I'd replace it, either with Carpet or a rental friendly hardwood or tile. That carpet is old and I can understand her request. I just replaced carpet in one of the rooms in a rental, it was about 14 years old and was about time. Sounds like the repairs you made were needed and although, she sounds like a high maintenance tenant, if she pays rent then "happy paying tenants" are the reputation you want. Good luck.

The sink and garage door are maintenance issues , the blinds and carpet are more cosmetic - assuming they aren't falling apart , and were that way when she rented .
I wouldn't replace at this time if the carpet is serving its purpose . At renewal or before placing a new tenant I'd revisit the idea of updating - hopefully to something like vinyl plank.

@Michelle Thomas This can really go two ways, barring any laws in Maryland I am not familiar with right now (Double check the law). 

As far as the carpet you can go the route of telling them nope, you signed the lease knowing what the carpet looks like, sorry I will be replacing it first thing January 2018. 

Or you can say, hey, okay I will replace the carpet for you. Either you can see if  help with the cost or there will be an increase in rent for the work to be done (again check the local and state laws for this).

I’m not sure how a carpet after 15 years would look? Typically carpet is good for a stretch of about five depending on a lot of factors. These factors range from if it has been a rental for a majority of that time or, if you owned it and lived in it while always taking your shoes off while being in that house. 

If your maintenance allotment will not cover the carpet replacement and you have to dip into CF, then yes, I would increase rent at lease renewal.  No need to get mad at her for requesting repairs.  They all seem pretty straight forward and reasonable.  Don't get emotional.  You need to make money, so if the repairs you made/will make are hurting your bottom line then raise rents when you legally can. 

I would wait until she has been there longer. Usually big items like flooring are taken care of during turnover. Unless it is a long term tenant. Also, I never tell tenants that I'm the owner that way I can always tell them I need to ask for approval. Then when you turn them down you can simple state that the owner is not approving the upgrade. 

Your answer is a resounding NO. Tell her you will replace the carpet at renewal, if you choose, but not with carpet. That will also come with the annual rent increase to maintain market and recover your flooring costs...........Never put carpet in a rental. Replace with laminate flooring.

Never cater to tenants requests or you will be nickel and dimed out of business. If they do not like what they have they can move and pay more elsewhere. The idea that because a landlord has a good tenant they must continually appease their needs is a hobby landlord mentality. Keeping the unit safe and clean is all that is necessary. Upgrading is a cost that should always be passed along to the tenant in their rent.

Hopefully she will choose to not renew and you can get a tenant that  appreciates what they have. If she does choose to renew do yourself a big favour and put her on a M2M lease.

@Michelle Thomas ,

I don't ever use carpet, but I believe the normal life of it is 5-7 years, so 15 years--- IMO this should be been changed before you moved in.   If you're replacing the floors, I would NOT do carpet again-- we LOVE wood looking plank tile, it's easy to clean, looks great, and most people love it!     If I were you, I'd tell her you're doing that, and she can replace it with rugs of her choice, and replace them as often as she'd like!     She's only been with you 8-months,  that to me doesn't say she's  definitely a long term tenant, and worth the $$$$ just because she doesn't like it.    Maybe I'm a jerk, but I would never  give a tenant the flooring of their choice-- you need to do what's best for you and your rental! 

What we do, is we tell all our tenants, after each year, we're committed to improving our properties and their quality of life, so we give them a $200 voucher for repair/improvements with us, and ask them what they want added or done, maybe a new toilet, or a room painted, stuff like that... so they tell you what they want, and it is all tax deductible!  

I would do nothing until the tenant's lease was up, unless I was already planning on that replacement irrespective of the tenant. The tenant rented the house as-is, unless you agreed to these demands when you signed the lease. 

I am with @Linda D. : I would never give the tenant the flooring of their choice, unless their choice just happened to coincide with what I chose to put in the unit (kind of like Henry Ford's "any color so long as it's black"). 

As for the master sink that was leaking, you would have had to do that anyway at your cost unless the tenant did something negligent to make it leak. Window coverings are usually part of the unit around here, so if yours were destroyed you would have done that anyway. Rewired the garage door? You mean wired it up in some way to the benefit of this tenant only, or wired because it was faulty or similar? If the latter, that's just part of owning the house and you would have to do it anyway.

It's all about training your tenant, you may be behind the eight ball on that but the tenant looked at the unit before signing the lease.  I'd let her know the carpet is scheduled to be replaced Jan. 2018 so that its not being done because of her request.  All the other maintenance sound legit, based on the fact you have 15 year old carpet I am guessing you have differed some of the required maintenance.     

I would not replace now. If you planned to do it at renewal the only reason I would do it now is if it logistically worked better. For instance kitchen floors I have replaced during a tenant vacation. Replacing with vinyl if you have a good wood subfloor will disturb her living there and her furniture will need moving. Leveling compound and glue have an odor. I would favor Vinyl or clicklock floor over carpet though.

@Michelle Thomas she rented the unit in current condition and her rent price reflects current condition. If she wants updates, then she needs to agree to a new rent price. You could agree to do it on her one or two year anniversary with new lease signing. Carpet in rentals lasts 5 years, so I prefer to only replace it when someone new moves in. It would last forever if tenants didn't wear shoes in the house, didn't spill colored beverages, didn't have pets, etc. 

It's all about training your tenant, you may be behind the eight ball on that but the tenant looked at the unit before signing the lease.  I'd let her know the carpet is scheduled to be replaced Jan. 2018 so that its not being done because of her request.  All the other maintenance sound legit, based on the fact you have 15 year old carpet I am guessing you have differed some of the required maintenance.     

  1. Thanks to everyone who replied with help to this question! It's been a big help!  - @Kurt Traynor I will price hardwood floors for the rest of the house...I did a full remodel back in Nov - Dec of 2016 and replaced the kitchen, front hallway and dinning room w/hardwood. @J. Harvey - Yes, the blinds probably should have been a "No," they were fine...And Yes, the items were like that when she rented it...I will definitely not change it before renewal of her lease... - @Peter Mckernan Thanks for your comments! ... The carpet was not bad, Just old...The house has been empty for the last 9 years...I only used it as a vacation house ...So it didn't have 15 years of wear and tear on the carpet, more like 3 yrs.  @Justin Fox Yes, I have enough to cover it and I will increase her rent if she renews....- @Brian Ploszay That's a good idea, thanks for your comment. And Yes, she is a complainer ...I didn't  even list the other six things that she's complained about that were out of my control or cosmetic ... Account Closed Thank you, that sounds like what I will do... - Thank you, You're right ...I will not replace it

@Carrie A.

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That's a resounding HELL NO...... you knew the carpet was like this when you signed the lease and moved in. The florring is a cosmetic issue....not a maintenance or safety issue. It gets replaced at turnover or renewal of the lease with a possible increase in rent.

As soon as you start replacing cosmetic issues at the request of the tenant, the list will grow and grow.... you will open a flood gate....don't do it...

I wouldn't because as soon as you do, more will come.  They are kind of like kids, they will test what they will get away with.  If you do end up replacing the carpet down the road, I would recommend to replace it with laminate flooring.  Laminate flooring just last longer than carpet and is much better suited for rental.  I no longer replace carpet in rentals.