Charge for carpet damage?

10 Replies

Dear Friends,

  When I did tenant move out walkthrough, there is an area of bedroom carpet damaged by the tenant, not normal wear and tear. However, it's not unbearable for next tenant, but I wonder how much you would charge the tenant for the repair. It's less than a sq ft.

Thanks,

Ken

That is a little vague.  How old is the carpet? IRS depreciation schedule for carpet is 5 years, and I find that is a good barometer for how long normal wear and tear is to replace normal grade carpet.

Russell Brazil, Real Estate Agent in Maryland (#648402), Virginia (#0225219736), District of Columbia (#SP98375353), and Massachusetts (#9​0​5​2​3​4​6)
(301) 893-4635

I believe you may not arbitrarily charge a "fee". You may only charge the tenant if you actually incurred costs to remedy the damage, and, this cost must be presented to tenant in terms of repair bill and receipts for payment of the bills.  

Thanks @Russell Brazil maybe I wasn't clear. The carpet is close to 5 years but the damage is made by tenant's baby sitter which is not normal wear and tear and there are 2 spots (< 1 sq ft), so I am not sure if should charge the fee to replace the whole carpet of the 1 bedroom or just the spot... However, I don't think it can be fixed though. 

Originally posted by @Ken Wang :

Thanks @Russell Brazil maybe I wasn't clear. The carpet is close to 5 years but the damage is made by tenant's baby sitter which is not normal wear and tear and there are 2 spots (< 1 sq ft), so I am not sure if should charge the fee to replace the whole carpet of the 1 bedroom or just the spot... However, I don't think it can be fixed though. 

So if the carpet is 5 years old, I think the judge in housing court would likely state it needs to be replaced anyways. Just my opinion. 

Russell Brazil, Real Estate Agent in Maryland (#648402), Virginia (#0225219736), District of Columbia (#SP98375353), and Massachusetts (#9​0​5​2​3​4​6)
(301) 893-4635

Judges around here would disallows any charges against carpet that's almost five years old.  They would assume its at the end of its useful life and needs replacement whether the tenant damaged it or not.

@Russell Brazil and @Jon Holdman thanks a lot, I didn't know that there is a clear wear and tear limit for carpet at 5 years, very useful info!!  After I read you guys suggestion, I checked it in detail. The carpet was replaced on 07/2014 so it's about 3.5 years. I asked local carpet store. The only remedy seems replacing the carpet for the 12ft x 12 ft room, although it's not a big damage. I wonder is that something you would do to charge tenant for replacing the carpet?  Many thanks, Ken

I've been told judges here will disallow any charge for carpets over three years old.  May vary in your area.

This is just another reason we don't install carpet in a home/apartment unless the owner (if we are managing for them) absolutely insists.  Solid plank vinyl or good quality laminate (in non-moisture environments) is excellent and lasts far longer than carpet, and is able to be repaired.

We find that most tenants appreciate the hypo-allergenic properties of a non-carpeted environment.

Just a thought for the future...

Marc Winter, Real Estate Agent

@Jon Holdman @Marc Winter @Russell Brazil

thanks for the tip again. I am amazed that there are many investors like you guys would answer my questions as small as this. I really appreciate you share the experience with me, and I learned a lot. 

@ Russell, I did a little homework for the carpet and I couldn't find the gov document specifying the carpet wear and tear for Howard County, MD where my rental is. However, I found Montgomery County, MD state for Carpet wear and tear, it is 7 years. The PDF from county website does show the calculation for tenant responsibility if it needs to be replaced. Say my carpet is 4.5 yrs old, and the cost to repair is $330. Tenant responsibility is $330/7yrs  x (7 - 4.5 yrs remaining life of the carpet) = $118

@Marc, thanks it's a good tip, definitely keep in mind for my rentals.  

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