Is a landlord allowed to charge a tenant for painting and carpet after living there for 2 years?

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Is a landlord allowed to charge a tenant for painting and carpet after living there for 2 years?

We lived in the apartment for 2 years. No damage was done to the apartment – walls were clean and was told by landlord not to shampoo carpet because carpet was being ripped out since wood floors were being put in. Now from our $500 security deposit they want to charge $150 for painting and $90 to shampoo the carpet that is going to be ripped out. I personally feel as if I’m getting scammed.

Asked on August 10, 2011 California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, a landlord may *not* charge a tenant for routine clean-up or maintenance, for painting or other work done occasioned by normal wear and tear, or for between rental paintings and carpet cleaning. The tenant is only responsible for the costs for repairs or replacements occasioned by damage the tenant, or his/her family, pets, and guests, have done. The exception would be if the lease provided that the tenant would pay for painting, carpet cleaning, etc. at the end of the tenancy; if there was such a term in the lease which you agreed to, it is legal and enforceable. Otherwise, the landlord cannot charge you for painting and carpet cleaning if you did not damage, though if they insist on trying to do this, you may wish to consider whether a lawsuit to recover the money is worth it.


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