Stains on carpet

marie26November 28, 2007

We've lived in a rental single dwelling for 3 years. The landlords lived here for 1 year before that. They also rent out one other house. The beige carpet is not of high quality (like a lot of other things in the house) but that isn't my problem. In several rooms, there are stains that will not come out and are very noticeable. I will be honest and say that in one room, the carpet is ruined.

We gave a $750.00 deposit as well as a $400.00 pet deposit. We are thinking of moving and don't know how to proceed. Normally, I clean the house perfectly and get professional carpet cleaners in when I leave an apartment. It doesn't seem to make sense to clean the carpet professionally if stains will still be there since I'm sure we won't be getting our deposit back.

How does one figure out how much a carpet is worth when it's four years old? With a formula, I will be able to figure out if the deposits will cover the damage. If it doesn't, should we replace the one room of carpet and try to patch where there is a bad stain?

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Your landlord won't care about your idea of what the damage is worth; he'll use his own scale to decide (and it won't matter if it's 'right' or not - it's his right to do so after all), and don't replace (or offer to replace) the carpet yourself either - same reason. It probably would have made more sense to clean the thing when spills occurred, of course.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2007 at 10:29PM
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A four year old carpet isn't worth the same as a new carpet. I'm just trying to figure out how much of a discount I should expect for part of a carpet that needs to be replaced. And, should I pay a service to clean the carpets in the rest of the house if I assume he'll keep the $1150 we've already given him?

    Bookmark   November 28, 2007 at 10:49PM
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The state I live in,The landlords legally have to REPLACE the carpet after 3 years if you move out.At least that is what I was told.

Our last apartment the carpet was shot (but hey,their stupidity for giving the one couple in the building with a child WHITE CARPET,when everyone else had brown carpet!)
but we were there for 5 years so they just replaced it when we moved and we didnt have to pay anything.

"With a formula, I will be able to figure out if the deposits will cover the damage. If it doesn't, should we replace the one room of carpet and try to patch where there is a bad stain? "

You could try that if you are really worried.You might want to find out the state laws regarding carpet first though before you waste your money.
our very first apartment we only lived in a year and a half and we ruined one section of carpet.So we replaced just that section and none the wiser.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2007 at 12:15AM
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No, don't pay a service either. Stop trying to second guess what the LL will want and/or how to price it. LL's often have contractors (of all types) that they work with, and get major discounts from for batch jobs, or else often do the work themselves, and anyone you get in will cost a lot more. Or else ASK him what he wants to do (but if you offer to do anything, just remember he may or may not approve of the job and still keep your money).

    Bookmark   November 29, 2007 at 4:51AM
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In these kind of situations it best to find out what the law is in your state! As in one poster stated, after 3 yrs in THEIR state, the carpet has to be replaced. But how many tenants would know that? probably not many, and they end up paying for wear and tear when they should not have had to. Most of the time you can find the info on the internet, if not contact your local authorities to get pointed in the correct direction

    Bookmark   November 29, 2007 at 6:32AM
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I've left a message for the tenant/rental board to call me but I haven't heard back yet. I tried to e-mail them but the e-mail address isn't working anymore.

To show the inexperience and cheapness of my landlord, the appliances in my house were all damaged or returns to stores. The microwave had to be replaced just after we moved in (with an open box one) and the furnace broke about a month ago. We were without heat in 30-50 degree weather for a week. The serviceman said we might have had monoxide poisoning in the house. The landlord replaced the furnace one week after we were told to shut if off and took off 1/4 of the gas bill (which wasn't hardly any money). He is suing the original installer of the furnace and I gave him a letter as to what happened with the furnace.

We have one acre land that he promised to get seeded and put grass. He hired someone just prior to winter and it didn't take. We had told him he could keep 2 horses for 2 weeks in the yard in back. He kept them there for 6 months and was on our property everyday feeding them.

I know these things won't make a difference in what happened to the carpet but I do know he's quick to sue and hires inexperienced people to do work.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2007 at 11:54AM
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I spoke to the tenant landlord board and they said that since we were never given a report to fill out regarding the condition of the house, it would be difficult for the landlord to charge me for the carpets. I'm not trying to get away with anything as long as it's within the amount of the security deposit so I'm still in need or a reasonable amount that should be deducted for 4 years wear and tear on a carpet.

A few years ago we had rented a large apartment in a high rise and had one 3" stain on the carpet in the bathroom. They charged us $600.00 to replace the entire carpeting in the whole apartment saying something about matching even though the carpet then was only 2 years old. The amount of carpet I have now is much less than the other place since it's a small 3 bedroom ranch with a lot of tiled flooring so I'm thinking I can't be charged that much for carpet now.

I copied and pasted the information from the tenant board's website below:

Ocassionally a situation will arise where the landlord and the tenant disagree as to a reasonable amount to be withheld from the security deposit. To avoid as many of these conflicts as possible, landlords should be sure to present every tenant with an initial condition of premises report at the beginning of tenancy. Without the initial condition of premises report, the landlord must be able to show by "clear and convincing evidence" that the damage caused, or cleaning required is the tenant's fault. Additionally, landlords are not permitted to deduct money from the tenant's security deposit for "normal wear" ( MCA 70-25-101 (1) ) or for cleaning that is performed on a cyclical basis ( MCA 70-25-201 (3) ). For instance, if a landlord paints the walls after every tenancy, s/he may not charge the tenant for the painting.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2007 at 3:57PM
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marie26, as a landlord of several single family dwellings I'm a bit confused here with regarding to your approach to this situation. Why don't you just broach your landlord about this? I don't understand why you're contacting the landlord/tenant board in your state when you admitted in your first post that the carpet is pretty much ruined by stains that occurred during your 3 year tenancy.

I would absolutely discourage you from spending any of your $ on 'patching' the carpet or replacing it without involving your landlord. Bad move. 4 yr old stained carpet cannot be 'patched' appropriately. The new won't match the old. Even if you could get that exact style, color, weave and dye lot the unworn new piece would not blend at all when compared to the more worn original. (Would you want to rent a place that had 'patched' carpeting?)

You wouldn't be doing yourself or your landlord a service by replacing it altogether. You should absolutely not replace carpeting/flooring without talking to your landlord first. It's his building, it will be occupied long after you're gone, and he has every right to choose what goes back on that floor. So if what you choose is unacceptable to him, you're in even deeper.

I know your question is not about this, but I feel compelled to comment. And I'm not trying to be snarky here, just realistic. I'm not sure why you conclude your landlord is both inexperienced and cheap with regard to appliances and the furnace break down situation? Personally, I don't supply appliances at all (and it's never been a hindrance to getting a house rented). Why? Because they have a way of getting banged up, broken, cracked inside, chipped outside, dented, and have been known to disappear in the dead of night along with the tenants who skipped out. If I did supply appliances they would not be of the highest caliber, for all the above reasons. Better to risk an econo stove getting a broken door or dents from a temper filled kick than a top 'o the line model. Landlords have no way of knowing how hard tenants will be on items like that until they are living inside the house.

As far as the furnace goes, furnaces break down. Even the best of them. And as in any field, there are good and bad HVAC installers. It sounds like you are attempting to blame your landlord for the furnace issue when in reality your landlord paid and entrusted the contractor would install it properly and the unit would perform as the manufacturer claimed. As much as we strive to keep things running smoothly (for everyone's sake), things can and do go wrong. We don't plan or wish for it to be that way, because I promise you it's a real PIA to have a furnace break down in an occupied house. A week does seem like a long time to get a repair done, he could have been dragging his feet or he could have been caught in red tape. We don't have any more 'clout' than anyone else. Using the same contractor for multiple dwellings does sometimes speed things up, but we still wait in line like everyone else. (And in my area the healthy customers are always behind the elderly/ill, etc who are on oxygen or home medical equipment, with both HVAC contractors and power companies.) I don't understand your comment that he knocked 1/4 off the bill and it wasn't 'hardly any money'. If you paid the utility company directly your bill would be for 3 weeks use, or 25% less than average that month.

It seems like you're looking for reasons to find bad things about your landlord to compensate for the fact that the carpet was trashed during your occupancy there. 4 years is not a long life for carpeting. I have been told by flooring salespeople that carpeting is yet another commodity that they don't make like they used to. On 'average', a family of 4 with one pet can expect about 7-10 years out of their rug. So in your case, I would expect to get at least double the amount of life out of your carpeting.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 8:53AM
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moonshadow, the 4 year old furnace needed replacing and this was figured out on the first day I called the energy company. They said to shut it down due to probable carbon monoxide poisoning. The landlord sent out a repairman that same day who could have ordered the new furnace then and fixed it. But the landlord kept trying to get the original installer for a week before he finally agreed to get someone else in to replace the furnace. So, it was the landlord's decision that we stay in a very cold house.

Back to the carpet. If it's 4 years old and is of the cheapest variety (like everything else), it's life would be seven years old. Then, my cost of replacing it would be less than half of the new carpeting. Correct?

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 1:40PM
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That is the route that would commonly be taken. Whether landlord or homeowner, one just does not plunk down $1000 - $2000 on a furnace that turns out to be faulty and plunk down that same amount again in 4 years. That is a very young age for a furnace. I upgraded 3 furnaces in recent years, all have a 5-7 yr warranty on the furnace and 5 years on labor. Something went very wrong somewhere and I would have done exactly what he did (even in my own home). Chase down the original installer and under the warranty get him to rectify it, either by correcting his bad install or dealing directly with the manufacturer he orders furnaces from to get the unit replaced. So if landlord pursued original guy, who promised to show, then repeatedly didn't (that's not uncommon with unscrupulous contractors) your landlord had no choice but to then pursue a new furnace elsewhere so you wouldn't be without heat for any longer. Now he's got to backtrack and sue the guy to recoup the $ he lost the first time around. It's not really fair to say it was 'his decision that you stay in a very cold house'. After all, we don't know that every day the guy was promising to show and repair, then didn't show. Would you want to write a check for $1000+ for a new furnace when the faulty furnace sitting there is considered in it's new stage and still under warranty? He was doing what anyone would do in the exact same situation. I have dealt with a guy like that, our new furnace in our own home had major issues and when it was clear the original installer was hemming and hawing and was not going to show, we started calling others. Most other contractors a) didn't want to undo his botched work and b) those that would take the job charged a lot and did not make it a priority on their job list. Why am I saying all this: because one week does not a slum lord make.

As far as the carpeting I only repeated to you what I was told by a couple flooring stores. It's seven - ten years. Average carpet, average wear, family of 4 plus one pet. So at 4 yrs it's barely reached the halfway span. I would expect it to be clean and perhaps show some surface yarn wear, perhaps not be as 'fluffy' as it once was. I would not expect multiple stains that won't come out. That kind of thing can be avoided when addressed immediately. Your cost toward replacing it depends upon, among other things, your lease agreement, the laws in your state, and a great deal on how much the carpet+padding+labor initially cost. Don't be so hasty to chalk it up to being 'cheap'. I worked for a large carpet chain in college, quality has declined dramatically and prices have skyrocketed. It's ridiculous. Good maintenance and care will lengthen the lifespan for sure. You could have top of the line wool carpets and if stains and spills weren't addressed, it would still react the same way.

What would I do were it my house? Without seeing it, off the top of my head, at minimum charge you for at least half the cost of replacing with new. If it clearly shows signs of abuse or neglect (those bad stains could have been avoided), I'd want more than that. Because I sure wouldn't expect to be replacing carpeting after 3 or 4 years. Sit down and talk to your landlord. If everything is so 'cheap' as you say then there are luxury units available, but we all know that those cost a pretty penny and we'd be talking a whole lot more $ for replacing damaged carpet in a unit like that.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 6:12PM
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I think you misunderstood about the furnace. The landlord couldn't reach the original installer at all. The original installer never promised to come out and then didn't show. Don't landlords have rights to make sure that a house stays warm in cold weather?

According to the laws in my state, I don't have to pay anything for the carpet since I was never given a sheet to fill out regarding how the place looked when we moved in. I was trying to be nice and not take advantage.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 6:43PM
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Don't landlords have rights to make sure that a house stays warm in cold weather?. Yep. And that is precisely what yours did, yes? It's all a moot point anyway, but I did want to illustrate that we don't have magic wands that we wave and everything is fixed instantly. Everyone who loses power/heat/water feels their situation is urgent, but the truth of it is we all have to wait in line and sometimes do without for a bit, even landlords in our own homes. Blizzards, power failures, ice storms, mechanical failure, poor installs. Stuff happens.

You need to pay very close attention to the words in your quote above, each one counts in a situation like this. It doesn't say a landlord "must", but rather "should" provide an initial condition of premises report. If that's not done, then they must show by 'clear and convincing evidence' the damage done. That's not a big hurdle. He could easily supply that via the original receipt for the carpeting purchase order, along with the dated estimate which would show the room dimensions and square yardage calculations, and if he's like me, many date/time stamped photos taken before new tenants move in. Something to think about...

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 8:13PM
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So how much is it to put "average" carpet in an 8 x 10 room including any padding underneath?

    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 1:01AM
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Call a flooring (carpet) company and ask them!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 4:47AM
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Not spam but I have a marvelous product recommendation- Nature's Miracle for pet stains... :-)

Frankly, I don't think carpets and untrained or ill pets go together. But if you have to have both there are products that deal with the result. Stains don't have to happen.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 9:21AM
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Agree, Nature's Miracle is a good product if used promptly. Woolite makes a foam in a can that I've seen get out some clingy stains. But once they've been allowed to set untreated, it's a whole nuther story ;)

    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 10:40AM
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I've never seen good results with any of those canned carpet cleaners that the grocery stores sell.

At one restaurant I worked at we used Carpet Science by Johnson Wax Co. The stuff was amazing on stains, even old stains. The owner allowed me to take a bottle of it home for my own use and wow did it clean! I turned a friend, who owns a cleaning service, onto the stuff and she was amazed at it.

They don't sell it to the public and I continue to buy it at Restaurant Depot for my home area rugs. (Occassional cat yak stain on rug.)

I just checked online for it and I see that you can order it from a few places that sell office cleaning supplies and janitorial products.

This is not Spam. The product is made by a large corporation and can be obtained from numerous cleaning supply firms. It's worth a try and might save having to buy new carpet.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 11:42AM
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Nope, discussing cleaners isn't spam, promoting a save your marriage web site by a newly registered user on a post about, another matter altogether.

Agree bud that most of the canned, mass produced carpet cleaners are not much help. That's why I was so surprised the Woolite product worked (it was a small older stain on my mother's light colored berber that although we attacked from the get-go, nothing would get out, including steam cleaning). I'm going to make a note of the product you mentioned for the rental carpets, perhaps keep some on hand. Thanks.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 1:03PM
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Its basically one of those 'spot cleaners' for stains but my friend, with the cleaning service, sprayed it on an entire area under a dining room table that had completely discolored due to bits and drips of food. They were OLD stains and the stains came out. Then once she ran her carpet shampooer over the carpet you couldn't even see where the table had sat. She didn't even use a 'professional' shampooer either just one of those Hoover or Bissel ones that enyone can buy for their home use.

The stuff seems safe for delicate things too. I cleaned some linen lampshades with the stuff and they came out nice and clean and white, without any damage at all. (I was going to toss them if they got ruined.) I had tried washing the shades with Tide and the Tide barely made a dent in the dingey grey that they shades had picked up from candle burning soot in the air.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 5:07PM
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bud, thank you for recommending that cleaner. I'll be searching for it this week. Maybe it will help with my stains.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 8:27PM
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