DO I HAVE TO GET MY CARPETS PROFESSIONALLY CLEANED?
While your lease agreement and landlord/agent may say that you must have the carpet professionally cleaned at the end of your tenancy, you cannot be forced to have the carpet professionally cleaned if its condition does not warrant it. You are only required to leave the carpet in a reasonably clean condition relative to when your lease began: Weber v Fleay & Fleay  NTRTCmr 26.
If the carpet is noticeably dirtier and/or stained than it was when you moved in, and you cannot remove the dirt/stains through other means, you may have to have the carpet professionally cleaned in order to comply with your obligations. If the carpet is in the same or similar condition to when you moved in, having reference to the ingoing condition report, you will not.
WHAT IS REASONABLE WEAR AND TEAR?
Living in a home will cause wear and tear through ordinary day to day use and/or natural forces. This is what is meant by “reasonable wear and tear”.
Damage that is caused by your intentional, negligent or careless actions is not reasonable wear and tear.
In determining whether damage to carpet is reasonable wear and tear, the Residential Tenancy Commissioner will consider a range of factors including:
- the age, quality and condition of the carpet at the beginning of the tenancy;
- the average lifespan of carpet, which is 10 years, according to the Australian Tax Office;
- the extent and noticeability of the damage;
- the cause of the damage;
- the number and type of tenants and the length of the tenancy.
- the impact of the damage on future tenancies.
Please be aware that you are also responsible for damage caused by guests that you have invited onto your property.
EXAMPLES FOR REASONABLE WEAR AND TEAR
Find examples for decisions made in Tribunals and Courts around Australia below. While they might provide guidance for your case, they are not binding for the Tasmanian Residential Tenancy Commissioner or Magistrates Court.
- White marks caused by baby vomit were not deemed reasonable wear and tear in 2 Test Pty Rajasingham (Residential Tenancies)  NSWCTTT 106
- Fading of carpet colour caused by sunlight is reasonable wear and tear in Bell & Bell v Boccola, Campbell & Lawrence  ACAT 26
Damage to carpet caused by walking on it is reasonable wear and tear in Bell & Bell v Boccola, Campbell & Lawrence  ACAT 26
Red wine stains remaining after the carpets have been professionally cleaned are reasonable wear and tear McCarthy v Isagai (Residential Tenancy)  NSWCTTT 643
- Burn marks as a result of a hot iron being placed on the carpet are not reasonable wear and tear in Berol v Kercheval  ACAT 73
- Makeup stains that cannot be removed are not fair wear and tear in Tankard v Ogbonna  ACAT 72
- A failure to secure windows resulting in storm damage to carpets is not reasonable wear and tear Enna Investments Pty Ltd v McNamara  ACAT
Nail polish stains that were unable to be removed despite professional steam cleaning are not reasonable wear and tear in Enna Investments Pty Ltd v McNamara  ACAT
- Pet urine and defecation stains and smells that cannot be removed are not reasonable wear and tear in Green v Miller  NSWCTTT 703
- The tenant was deemed responsible for a large patch mould on the carpet caused by leaking of moisture most likely from a pot-plant or fish tank. However, they were only responsible for 25 per cent of the replacement cost due to depreciation. Tasmania’s Residential Tenancy Commissioner (Bond No: 1000167587)
EVIDENCE TO PROVIDE IN A BOND CLAIM OR DISPUTE
As well as arguing that any damage to the carpet is reasonable wear and tear, you can also defend a claim to your bond on the basis of the following:
The carpet has not been damaged. Evidence to support this claim may include:
- Ingoing Condition Report demonstrating that the carpet was already damaged
- Outgoing condition report
- Photos from start and end of tenancy
- Receipt from carpet cleaning company
REASONABLE WEAR AND TEAR
The carpet has been damaged, but it is reasonable wear and tear. Evidence to support this claim may include:
- Evidence of the length of tenancy
- Evidence of the number of people living in the property
- Evidence of household composition (eg adults, children, elderly people)
- Evidence of the age of the carpet
- The ingoing condition report/ photos demonstrating the condition of the carpet at the beginning of the tenancy
- Photos demonstrating that damage not excessive
LANDLORD’S CLAIM IS EXCESSIVE
The carpet has been damaged and it is not reasonable wear and tear, but the amount of money is excessive. Evidence to support this claim may include:
- Cheaper quotation/s from different suppliers (carpet layers/carpet cleaning companies)
- Receipts demonstrating that repairs/ cleaning were carried out
- Evidence demonstrating the extent of damage
- Evidence demonstrating the impact of the damage on the function of the carpet
- Evidence of the age of the carpet, as average useful lifespan of carpet is 10 years (i.e. if the carpet is not new or near new the landlord should not be awarded the full cost of replacement)
We would like to acknowledge and thank the Eastern Area Tenants Service in New South Wales for their assistance. This factsheet was made available through the generous support of the Law Foundation of Tasmania.
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is not legal advice. It is intended as a guide only. It applies only to legislation current in Tasmania as at 1 February 2022. For information regarding a specific tenancy problem please phone the Tenants’ Union on 1300 652 641 or (03) 6223 2641. The Tenants’ Union of Tasmania Inc. accepts no responsibility for actions based on this information, nor for actions based on electronic translations of this information.