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Rental property carpet and inspections in Canberra?

By corny_jim - 17 October 2013 25

So we’re living in a rental at the moment and we’ve just got a notice that we’ve failed our inspection and that there’ll be a re-inspection.

This is quite surprising as we’re generally fairly clean. In past inspections, we haven’t made any extra effort at all and things have been fine.

So we suspect that as we told them that we’re in the market to buy a house and probably won’t be extending our lease (which ends in a couple of months) that they’re being overly strict in case they need to claim some of our bond.

They’ve listed a bunch of minor stuff which I can address. They did list that the carpet needs cleaning. Now this is the bit that I’m not sure what I can do about.

We vacuum once a week but there are a few small marks and stains near the heavily trafficked areas like near the entrance which isn’t going to come out in a vacuum.

We need to professionally clean the carpet before we leave which we’re happy to do but I was wondering, if the marks don’t come out, can they charge us to replace all the carpet?

The carpet is fairly old – we’ve been there for 2 years, the previous renters (friends of ours) was there around 4-5 years, so at minimum it is 6-7 years old. Most likely, it’s probably never been changed (the unit I reckon is probably 20 years old).

It would seem fairly unfair to have to pay for a whole new set of carpet when the existing carpet was old. In addition to this, are there any other advice you can give to someone vacating a rental property to ensure we get most of our bond back?

What’s Your opinion?


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25 Responses to
Rental property carpet and inspections in Canberra?
1
davo101 1:43 pm
17 Oct 13
#

2
thebrownstreak69 1:56 pm
17 Oct 13
#

Start with a cheap can of carpet shampoo, if the stains come out the problem will probably go away.

You can always contact the Tenants Union. If something like this goes to the tribunal you’re unlikely to have a problem.

I’m a property investor, and I generally plan on replacing carpets every 10 years or so anyway.

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3
neanderthalsis 2:03 pm
17 Oct 13
#

Go to Bunnings and hire their carper cleaning machine for $30 a 1/2 day, it will remove most ground in dirt and minor stains, cheaper than a professional clean and just about as good.

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4
carpediem 2:24 pm
17 Oct 13
#

If there are only a few small marks and stains it sounds like fair wear and tear to me corny jim.

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5
zorro29 2:26 pm
17 Oct 13
#

yeah that does seem a little weird….it’s not uncommon to get “issues to address” as a result of an inspection but a re-inspection seems strange if you’re legitimately pretty clean/tidy and have only fair wear/tear

i would argue against the need to carpet clean when you will have to turn around and do it again in a couple of months and just mention that’s the plan

but yeah a chat to the tenants union if they persist will help you out…

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6
Pantz_Party 2:27 pm
17 Oct 13
#

This sounds like it is normal wear and tear.

Adding to Davo101’s above comment, here is the specific answer; http://www.tenantsact.org.au/FAQRetrieve.aspx?ID=36384&Q=carpet

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7
A_Cog 3:39 pm
17 Oct 13
#

On a possibly-related note…

If / when you break your lease early (coz you’re looking to buy a home), just be aware that THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A BREAK-LEASE FEE.

Further, if you ‘give notice of your intention to vacate’ (by sending them an email saying ‘hey, can we leave on XX date), and they accept it (by emailing back, “sure, blah blah blah), then you’re up for no costs.

The ‘break-lease fee’ is a common scam by ACT real estate agents. It’s so common, our conveyancer half-laughed about it when he warned us about this scam.

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8
zorro29 4:18 pm
17 Oct 13
#

A_Cog said :

On a possibly-related note…

If / when you break your lease early (coz you’re looking to buy a home), just be aware that THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A BREAK-LEASE FEE.

Further, if you ‘give notice of your intention to vacate’ (by sending them an email saying ‘hey, can we leave on XX date), and they accept it (by emailing back, “sure, blah blah blah), then you’re up for no costs.

The ‘break-lease fee’ is a common scam by ACT real estate agents. It’s so common, our conveyancer half-laughed about it when he warned us about this scam.

true that…i once broke a lease early and the place had a new tenant the next day (a tenant that i found) and no damage/wear/tear. when i left the RE agent agreed to return full bond etc and said at the final inspection “well that just leaves the end lease fee” (which was equiv to a week of rent…$330 at the time…which was a lot of money to me back in the day). i said, “no you can’t charge for ending a lease.”. she didn’t know what to do with herself and asked for the fee again. i refused again and nothing else came of it.

however, landlords are entitled to get from you: any readvertising costs and the rent between when you leave and a new tenant comes in (as long as they can demonstrate reasonable efforts to mitigate their damages)

but yeah, that annoyed me too….re-lease fee. they also tried to charge me for what the landlord had to pay in terms of paperwork etc for a new tenant…i was all like “uhhhh, no”

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9
Mysteryman 4:30 pm
17 Oct 13
#

It’s pretty common for rental leases to state that the tenant agrees to have the carpet cleaned before vacating the premises. Perhaps that’s why they mentioned it. Check the lease you signed.

It’s not likely that they will ask you to pay for replacement carpet. That comes under “wear and tear” and should be the responsibility of the landlord.

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10
Watson 4:31 pm
17 Oct 13
#

According to the Tenant’s Union landlords are not allowed to demand that you get the carpets cleaned during your lease unless that is specifically written into the lease contract.

Put it down to normal wear and tear and contest it if they make you pay for it.

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11
Madam Cholet 4:50 pm
17 Oct 13
#

Fair wear and take, unless the marks are unfortunate accidents left behind by a dog you are not meant to have !!

I would refuse the request to clean the carpet three months before leaving and as was pointed out, have to do it again when you vacate. Ask where this is in your lease agreement. They’ll prolly have trouble finding it. Or ask if this clean will be in lieu of the final one.

God RE people shit me.

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12
Woody Mann-Caruso 5:13 pm
17 Oct 13
#

1. The Residential Tenancies Act 1997 does not provide for ‘reinspections’. They get two inspections in any 12 month period, plus one within a month of commencing the tenancy, and one month before the end (s77 and s78).

2. Your bond cannot be withheld to repair damage that can be characterised as ‘fair wear and tear’ (s31(a)). Some marking of an older carpet in a high-traffic area is clearly wear and tear. Carpets do not last forever, and cannot be expected to remain pristine forever.

3. This is important because the agent may claim that they can give you a week’s notice and ‘re-inspect’ to examine the ‘repairs’ they’ve required under s82. This argument is bullsh*t, and you should laugh at it, because they can’t inspect ‘repairs’ you couldn’t be legally required to make in the first place.

4. You cannot be required to replace the carpet. First, you are only required to leave the premises ‘substantially’ as they were at the start of the lease, excepting fair wear and tear (s64). Second, a tenant cannot be required to “make alterations, improvements or renovations to the premises” (s65).

Source: our last agent before we bought a house tried this sh*t on (this, and trying to arbitrarily and repeatedly increase our rent to a level way above [CPI + 20%]), so we took them to the Tribunal, and they lost. Warning: they then gave us six months to quit the lease without cause.

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13
tommy 8:22 pm
17 Oct 13
#

Get some advice before lease end as to whether it is fair wear and tear. If you claim it and it’s turns out otherwise you can be liable for rent in the meantime plus repair. Also the rental agency can list you as a bad tenant.

My tips for renters is to get a receipt (a real one from a carpet cleaning place that includes he final report – normally they will say what the condition of he carpet is and any unshiftable stains) to prove the carpet was cleaned prior to your occupancy, take photos of everything and get the property manager to sign off on damage. Don’t move into a place with white carpet that is brand new.

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14
Shinigami_Josh 10:06 pm
17 Oct 13
#

carpet depreciates over a 7 year period (from memory), so you would be liable to pay nothing for it and if you want to be a prick (and have confirmed the carpets age), you can refuse to clean it at the end of the lease given it has a nil value.

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15
arescarti42 10:33 pm
17 Oct 13
#

Mysteryman said :

It’s pretty common for rental leases to state that the tenant agrees to have the carpet cleaned before vacating the premises. Perhaps that’s why they mentioned it. Check the lease you signed.

Watson said :

According to the Tenant’s Union landlords are not allowed to demand that you get the carpets cleaned during your lease unless that is specifically written into the lease contract.

They actually can’t even do that. As a tenant your only obligation is to leave the premises in substantially the same condition as when you moved in, minus fair wear and tear.

Yes, it’s pretty common for rental leases to include clauses stating that the tenant agrees to have the carpet cleaned before vacating the premises, and in most cases these clauses are completely and utterly unenforceable.

Part 2, Division 2.1 of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 states that additional terms to the standard tenancy agreement are void if they are inconsistent with the standard residential tenancy terms, and have not been endorsed by the ACAT. In most cases a carpet cleaning clause is inconsistent with the standard tenancy agreement, and so even if it’s in the lease you signed, it is void and can’t be enforced.

AFAIK the only occasions where this isn’t the case (it has been endorsed by the ACAT) is where the carpet was cleaned before you moved in (and the agent/landlord can provide a receipt to prove this) and possibly also where you had pets.

When I moved out of my last rental, I hired a carpet cleaner and cleaned the carpets myself as an act of good faith to the excellent landlord (It was a no pets, no kids, no indoor shoes household so the carpets were pristine anyway).

When I met with the leasing agent for the final inspection (which she was 30 minutes late to) she went totally nuts that I didn’t get them professionally cleaned, threatened to terminate the inspection and proceeded to go around the place making up reasons to fail the inspection, to the point where she noted a spare roll of toilet paper i’d left in the bathroom cupboard as an issue to be rectified (I’d left it there for the next tenant, as it’s a rotten thing to realise you don’t have when you’re half way through moving your stuff in).

Long story short they I got my bond back in full without having to go to the ACAT.

My advice to others is know your rights and don’t let shithead RE agents push you around.

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