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Old 07-06-2009, 01:42 PM
 
Location: OH
8 posts, read 54,886 times
Reputation: 11

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Is it normal for a management company to withhold $150.00 from your deposit to clean carpets, and paint the walls? I was under the assumption that this is something they were required to do before new tenants moved in anyway. I have also helped my landlord out by cleaning apartments for them. I have never came across them painting the walls or cleaning the carpets. If the carpet is dirty, they replace it, and when there are damages, they just fix the holes and run paint over it to match the walls. I am wondering what to do if they try this with us. There is nothing in the lease stating this. My neighbor just moved out. She was here for 3 months (living alone). They told her it was normal practice for them to withhold the $150.00.
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Old 07-06-2009, 02:27 PM
 
Location: Boise, ID
8,047 posts, read 26,422,319 times
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We have it in our lease that $150 is always nonrefundable to cover carpet cleaning and final clean up for the little things the tenants tend to miss.

It almost never covers the expense, so if we were to itemize those expenses and bill the tenant, it would nearly always be more than the $150.

As for the other practices you mentioned...

Replacing the carpet between every tenant?? Was it a cheap apartment complex you worked for? We have nice houses and duplexes with 10 year carpet. Replacing it costs in the ballpark of $1500+. Some tenants only stay 6 months. You had better believe we are going to shampoo the carpets between tenants rather than replacing it, whenever possible. People who own houses and are responsible, and have it shampooed every couple years have carpet that lasts for 15 years or more.

People who rent are expected to return the unit in the same condition as they received it. They (assumably) received it with freshly cleaned carpet. Depending on the lease, the landlord may require them to have it professionally shampooed, or can charge for doing it after the tenant vacates.

And painting an entire unit is in the ballpark of $1000 for a quality paint job. Even the smaller units are in the $700+ range. The $150 is just going to cover the touch up expenses you mentioned. Now, if you just have pinholes from photos, that is normal wear and tear, and there should be no charge for those, but if there is a hole requiring repair, that is between 3 and 5 trips into the unit to repair, sand, texture, and paint (have to let things dry in between). That's a lot of time for fixing holes.

In my area, and I would assume in most areas, the landlord is entitled to receive the property back in the same condition as they granted it, less normal wear and tear, which is dependant on the length of time occupied. Obviously someone who rents for 7 years is going to have worn carpet, faded paint, more small dings in the walls, more things worn in general, but damage is damage, no matter the length of residency.

Unless you rent for a long time, or leave the place immaculate, you will probably have some part of your deposit legally held out. Nothing you can do about it. If you have the place professionally cleaned before turning keys in, and have the carpets professionally shampooed, you might have a case to get the full refund, but it is going to cost you more than the $150.

And when I say immaculate, I have to say that 99% of tenants do not clean as well as they think they have. We usually have between 5 and 15 hours of cleaning after a tenant finishes and turns in keys. Unless you are a really good housekeeper and clean religiously, you should expect it to take at least 10 man-hours of solid cleaning to get the place clean enough. For most people, 15 hours is more reasonable.
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Old 07-06-2009, 03:00 PM
 
27,750 posts, read 58,073,059 times
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No... not the way you put it... at least in California.

By law, there is no such thing as a non-refundable deposit as a matter of policy.

Some will require professional carpet cleaning with a receipt.

As far as paint... that depends on how long it's been... many I know successfully use 7 years as the useful life of both carpet and paint.

I generally don't withhold for paint if the tenant has been there for 3 or more years...

Tenants are always responsible for damage... which is different than cleaning and cleaning is not normal wear and tear...

Really depends on what the rules are in Ohio where the property is located...
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Old 07-06-2009, 03:04 PM
 
Location: Florida
6,262 posts, read 18,215,807 times
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I was once charged $350.00 for carpet cleaning after I moved out.
Let me just add that I'm a clean freak and had not only kept the carpets clean but shampooed them myself prior to moving out.
Property Management seems to follow their own rules and can damn well do what they like.
I'm still fighting those charges.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smcmanus20 View Post
Is it normal for a management company to withhold $150.00 from your deposit to clean carpets, and paint the walls? I was under the assumption that this is something they were required to do before new tenants moved in anyway. I have also helped my landlord out by cleaning apartments for them. I have never came across them painting the walls or cleaning the carpets. If the carpet is dirty, they replace it, and when there are damages, they just fix the holes and run paint over it to match the walls. I am wondering what to do if they try this with us. There is nothing in the lease stating this. My neighbor just moved out. She was here for 3 months (living alone). They told her it was normal practice for them to withhold the $150.00.
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Old 07-07-2009, 12:14 PM
 
Location: Long Beach, CA
2,071 posts, read 11,536,416 times
Reputation: 1779
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultrarunner View Post
No... not the way you put it... at least in California.

By law, there is no such thing as a non-refundable deposit as a matter of policy.

Some will require professional carpet cleaning with a receipt.

As far as paint... that depends on how long it's been... many I know successfully use 7 years as the useful life of both carpet and paint.

I generally don't withhold for paint if the tenant has been there for 3 or more years...

Tenants are always responsible for damage... which is different than cleaning and cleaning is not normal wear and tear...

Really depends on what the rules are in Ohio where the property is located...
Ultra is right ........ depends in the State you live in. Actually, $150 for both charges are not bad. I don't charge for paint if a tenancy was over a year, but also charge for carpet cleaning, which is a justifinable expense.
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Old 07-07-2009, 03:13 PM
 
Location: Indianapolis, IN
914 posts, read 4,237,637 times
Reputation: 845
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paula Lynn View Post
Ultra is right ........ depends in the State you live in. Actually, $150 for both charges are not bad. I don't charge for paint if a tenancy was over a year, but also charge for carpet cleaning, which is a justifinable expense.
I would agree. $150 for both is very cheap. And a I am seeing a lot of places now charging for carpet cleaning, or requiring tenants to have the carpet cleaned before moving out. On the other hand, they should also be providing you receipts proving they actually did this. For that amount, it sounds like they are withholding that amount from everyone regardless of if they actually have done those things. If they said ahead of time that this would be non-refundable or if it states that in your lease, then it is non-refundable. If they said nothing about previously, and it is not in your lease, then I would ask for receipts.

But really, a lot depends on the state, so look at you landlord/tenant laws . . . as every state varies. (For instance, in Oregon a tennant cannot be charged for routine carpet cleaning or painting if they have lived there for more than a year. Not that all landlords follow this, but it is legally enforceable. Oregon has a pretty comprehensive law, though.) So definitely read through the state law and your lease.
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Old 07-07-2009, 03:20 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
16,791 posts, read 44,835,706 times
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Check your states landlord tenant laws. In Texas the landlord cannot withhold maintenance costs for normal wear and tear. Patching nail and screw holes in walls, normal cleaning and painting between tenants would be considered normal wear and tear.
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Old 07-07-2009, 03:34 PM
 
Location: Boise, ID
8,047 posts, read 26,422,319 times
Reputation: 9396
Quote:
Originally Posted by CptnRn View Post
Check your states landlord tenant laws. In Texas the landlord cannot withhold maintenance costs for normal wear and tear. Normal cleaning and painting between tenants would be considered normal wear and tear.
I disagree...cleaning is not normal wear and tear. Units should be left in clean condition. "Wear and tear" literally means that things get worn out and break through daily use. Cleaning has nothing to do with this. That includes returning the carpets to clean condition.

In addition, a further problem is to define "normal"

I would consider anything that has to be done to get the property back to rentable condition, that shouldn't have needed to be done yet through regular usage, as non-normal.

So repainting when the paint is faded or chipping is normal, but painting because the paint is damaged is not normal. Some small amount of touchup paint is usually considered normal, but any larger hole repair is damage. Dirty blinds are normal, broken or missing blinds are not. Soaked in odors, such as from wet animals or from smoking (unless you are in a smoking unit), are definitely not normal wear and tear (even if you are allowed to have animals on your lease, damage from animals is still damage, including odors). Carpets may be worn in traffic areas through normal wear and tear, but stains, including ground in dirt, are not normal wear.

The problem is that "normal wear and tear" is a somewhat vague term that is rarely defined to anyone's satisfaction by state law. At my company, we define normal to be around 10 hours of cleaning, including paint touchup, and replacing things that are wearing out, as well as shampooing the carpets.

*edit... realized I was inconsistant.
I do think some cleaning is normal, tenants always miss something. Not "normal wear and tear", but definitely normal and expected. Excessive cleaning is not normal, however. A tenant should not expect the landlord to do all the cleaning for them at no charge.
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Old 07-07-2009, 10:58 PM
 
Location: Kailua Kona, HI
3,199 posts, read 12,501,529 times
Reputation: 3409
Re-read the lease. Is there any mention of a tenant handbook or any other document such as addendums that are incorporated into the Lease by reference? The cleaning issues could be addressed therein.

#1 $150 for carpet cleaning and painting is dirt cheap (pardon the pun). We require a professional carpet cleaner to clean the carpets with receipt provided to us, or we'll do it and take that cost out of the deposit. #2, the carpet was either clean when you moved out, or it wasn't clean. There's not a whole lot of gray area to me when talking about clean. Clean means NO DIRT! <sigh>

And I don't know anyone that can absorb the cost of new carpet every time tenants vacate.
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Old 07-08-2009, 11:11 AM
 
83 posts, read 481,120 times
Reputation: 41
On the rental agreement we just signed it says they will keep $ from our deposit to clean carpets and redo the locks. Kinda sucks but thats part of renting. The house I just sold cost me 180 to have carpets cleaned, 150 sounds like a deal.
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