Let’s face it: generally speaking, renters are pretty rough on carpets. After all, your renters may not treat the property’s carpets quite like a homeowner might: using rugs for floor protection, taking off their shoes indoors, and quickly addressing stains. Even if you have a great renter who does all of these things, you’ll start to notice wear-and-tear on high-traffic carpets—such as that found in hallways—after a few years.
Carpet, no matter how well it’s taken care of, doesn’t last forever. Most carpets are designed to last a decade, and the rental-grade carpets in your property may need replacement even sooner than that. However, you can take steps to preserve them and extend their lifespan.
Schedule professional carpet cleaning
Between the time your prior renter moves out and your new renter moves in, you need to have a professional carpet cleaning team out to your property to sanitize and deep clean the carpets. You’ll find that this service generally yields better results—and cleaner carpets—than the hassle-filled process of renting a carpet cleaning vacuum from the hardware store. Carpet cleaners have access to specialized cleaning products and tools that allow them to thoroughly and completely clean the carpet. The results can be transformative.
A cleaning professional will also be able to diagnose and then treat tough carpet stains. If your rental previously had pets in it, this may include lifting out deep-set pet stains. Or, it might involve removing a long-forgotten wine stain from underneath the coffee table.
If you furnish the property, ask your local home cleaner if they also offer upholstery cleaning services. This can ensure that couches, chairs, and other furniture are clean, protected, and ready for the next tenant.
Provide your renters with cleaning supplies
When it comes to protecting the carpets, some property owners are getting proactive and gifting their renters “cleaning kits” ahead of move-in. These cleaning kits include labeled carpet stain removers and instructions for quickly lifting stains. While this doesn’t guarantee that renters will act to protect the carpet after a spill or accident, it does give them the agency and ability to do so.
After all, if your property has a security deposit used for cleaning and repairs, your renters will typically be conscious of the need to avoid heavy stains or damage to the carpets that could come out of their security deposit.
Just note that, in most states and municipalities, you cannot hold tenants liable for general wear-and-tear put on carpets, or withhold their deposit to pay for new carpets when the old ones are at the end of their lifespan. If you plan to use part of the deposit to cover needed repairs to heavily damaged sections, you should thoroughly document the state of the carpets before move-in and then immediately after move-out. You also need to clarify in the lease agreement that the security deposit can be used in this way.
Replace the existing carpet with higher-quality carpeting
When your rental’s carpet is near the end of its life, you have a choice to make. Here’s what you’ll need to decide:
- If you replace it with inexpensive, rental-grade carpet, you could be replacing it once again in as soon as five years.
- If you replace the carpet with more expensive, warranty-covered carpeting, you’ll have higher upfront costs, but may not have to replace it for 8-10 years.
- If you’re willing to invest in your property and it makes sense to do so, replacing carpeting in high-traffic areas or throughout the home with vinyl, tile, hardwood, or another type of flooring might make sense.
This last option is becoming increasingly popular as vinyl flooring has become less expensive, better-looking, and more durable. Vinyl generally costs between $2 and $8 per square foot to install, and the property owner can easily install some forms of it. It’s water-resistant, stands up to the wear-and-tear well, and looks great throughout the property. If you’re at your wit’s end with cleaning and replacing carpets and have been looking to invest back into the property, vinyl—or tile—might not be a wrong choice.
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