When it comes to your apartment, the carpets probably aren’t at the top of your mind when deciding whether to lease or not. But when you’re stuck with a stained and dirty carpet, it can take away from your living experience in your home, making you want to live elsewhere. Follow these steps if you want to get your landlord to replace the carpeting in your apartment and make your living space feel brand new again!
Do you need a New Carpet?
The first step in getting new carpeting is assessing whether or not you need it. If you’re tired of looking at your carpet and would like a fresh change, then, by all means, go for it! But if you just don’t want to see stains anymore, your best bet is to spot clean frequently and make small repairs as needed.
Stains are bound to pop up eventually (even with regular cleaning), but wear and tear are typically unavoidable after years of walking across it every day. Don’t forget about cleaning underneath heavy furniture either! Although moving a piece of furniture may be a hassle, light vacuuming will go a long way in keeping your rugs looking good and lasting longer.
When is it necessary for a Landlord to Replace a Carpet?
When deciding whether or not a landlord should replace your carpet, it is important to remember that there are many steps between a landlord and replacing a carpet.
Before you attempt to blackmail your landlord into replacing your carpet, you must first determine when he/she is legally required to replace the carpet. According to New York law, there are four scenarios when a landlord must replace old or worn-out carpet:
- If you complained about serious mould growth within 3 months of moving in.
- If defective plumbing, heating equipment or appliances caused flooding within 6 months of moving in.
- If interior walls started showing cracks and holes after 6 months of living there.
- Or if lead paint is peeling off windows and doors within 12 months of moving in.
If the tenant has damaged the carpet
The owner is unlikely to replace the carpet at his cost if you damage it. He has the right to take your security deposit as compensation. However, a withdrawal from your deposit for normal wear and tear is not justified. In some areas, if the damages surpass the security deposit, the landlord may file a lawsuit against the former tenant.
If not, negotiate with your landlord.
You have to go through your landlord whenever you want something done in your rental unit. It’s that simple. So if you want a new carpet, negotiate with your landlord. If you don’t like how long it took them to fix a broken heater, bring it up when they come by for an inspection.
The more agreeable and friendly you are during those negotiations, the better you have of getting what you want. And don’t forget—landlords are people too! Be nice and respectful during conversations about any repairs or changes in tenancy (like a new roommate), and nine times out of 10, they will comply.
How to Get Your Landlord to Replace the Carpet
Talk to other tenants in the building.
Before you approach your landlord, it can be helpful to get a sense of what’s normal. Try talking with a few other tenants who live in your building—ask them how long they’ve been there and if they’ve ever gotten their carpets replaced.
If none of them has had new carpet installed, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to convince your landlord that yours needs replacing. If you don’t know any other tenants, ask around until you find someone who will tell you.
This can be hard: You might feel embarrassed or reluctant to pry into other people’s business. But remember that everyone has issues with their apartment at some point, so no one will judge you for being curious about what others are experiencing.
Document the situation
You must document your attempts to get a response from your landlord. If he or she doesn’t respond or rejects your request, you can show proof of how you’ve tried and present it to a different building manager. When you put in work orders for repairs—whether for mould, mildew or carpet replacement—you follow up with phone calls and emails reminding your landlord of their promise.
If there’s another tenant in your building experiencing similar issues as you are, try teaming up together and presenting a united front, so he or she has no choice but to honour his or her commitment to keeping maintenance up-to-date. Document everything!
Send a professionally written letter.
The next step is to send a professionally written letter citing your rights under residential tenancy law. Here’s an example of a letter you can use as a template. Dear [Landlord or Building Manager], Under Section 19(2) of New York’s Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), tenants are entitled to request repairs and necessary maintenance be completed within a reasonable time after they make a written request.
If there is no significant damage in your unit, it is considered wear and tear, and no repairs should be necessary after four years. See section 5(1)(b) of New york Regulation 516/06 for more information on wear and tear.
File a complaint against the property owner
If your landlord fails to fix a serious problem, like mould or lead paint, you may be able to file a complaint with your local government. Depending on where you live, there are different agencies and processes for dealing with complaints about landlords; visit your city’s website for more information. You may also want to contact an attorney who specializes in tenant law in your area; many offer free initial consultations and can help you with small claims court if it comes down to that. (Find more information about how tenants can navigate landlord-tenant disputes.)
Offer to pay for the carpet.
Approach your landlord and ask him or her if you can help foot some of the bills for carpet replacement. Often, landlords are willing to install new carpets as a solution to keep tenants happy.
However, make sure that any new carpet is agreed upon in writing and signed by both parties before work begins. This way, the house and the carpet would be your property, and you’d be able to take it with you when you move. This usually is not an issue, but just in case.
It’s not uncommon for landlords and property owners to use older carpeting in apartments and rental homes. Once these pieces get damaged, they can be difficult and costly to replace.
If you live in an apartment or home that uses carpets with padding beneath them, you must request new carpeting as soon as possible. Here are some suggestions for getting your landlord to replace your carpets.
According to Housing and Urban Development Department rules, carpets and rugs should be changed at a minimum after 7 years, even if the tenants do not move. It’s because carpets can house a lot of germs, which can create a health threat when the fibres break down over time. Although not everyone is compelled to follow HUD criteria, I believe this one is appropriate.
Sheena Whitlock, a property expert, and blogger with over 15 years of experience in the field. The knowledge and skills Sheena has acquired during her career have given her invaluable insight into the property management business.
She has done her Property Development BSc (Hons) from the University of Portsmouth and completed her Master’s Degrees in Property Management from the University of Chicago.
As a professional, she has spent time working for various companies as a property management officer and currently works at Asset Info Hub where she shares her knowledge and experience on various property matters with people around the world, questioning their queries via blogging and virtual consulting services.