How often should a landlord replace carpet?

How often should a landlord replace carpet?

A carpet in good condition is something that people don’t tend to notice too much. It might be appreciated, sure, but it’s not exactly something to write home about. What’s more noticeable is when a carpet’s in bad condition — think worn patches that catch on your shoes or little mushrooms sprouting up beneath your feet.

So how often should a landlord replace carpet to avoid these problems? And do landlords have to replace carpets in the UK when asked? Let’s break it down:

How often should carpet be replaced in a rental?

In short, there’s no law around how often a landlord should replace carpet in the UK. There’s also no law around how often rented properties should be redecorated at all, although it is common for a landlord to do a review every 5 or so years.

Of course, when it comes to how long to leave before replacing a carpet, it depends largely on the quality of the one installed. A good carpet might last up to 10 years, while something cheap could need replacing after just 3 years.

It’s also common for a landlord to redecorate as a matter of routine at the end of each tenancy. This might just involve a few paint touch-ups or it could mean a fresh, new rug. The end of a tenancy is a good time for a landlord to make changes as it’s easier to get the work done when a property is empty, plus, it’s also an essential part of attracting new tenants. At the very least, tenants look for homes that are comfortable and clean — so believe it or not, a dingy, old carpet could be a deal-breaker.

But although a landlord should make sure their property is well kept and welcoming, there are, of course, plenty who don’t. If you’ve ever looked around for a new place to live, you’re bound to have seen the homes that time forgot — i.e. scary 70s carpets with patterns galore. These landlords might be saving some cash on fresh decor in the short term, but their properties are also likely to sit empty for much longer.

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When do landlords have to change carpet?

There’s really only one reason why a landlord would be required to replace a carpet, and that’s if it became a health hazard. This is because landlords have a responsibility to rent out their property in good, working condition for the safety and comfort of their tenants. But how could a carpet become hazardous, you might ask? Well, carpets are made up of densely packed fibres which catch and hold onto…

  • Dust
  • Dirt
  • Mould Spores
  • Insects
  • Pet dander
  • Allergens

While regular deep cleaning can help maintain a carpet for longer, over years all these particles build up and can worsen, or even result in, a number of health conditions. Dust and mould spores, for example, could be especially harmful to people with asthma. Equally, a bed bug infestation in a carpet could make your home uninhabitable, which would need fixing asap.

You can learn more about who’s responsible for handling unwanted house guests in, ‘Are landlords responsible for pest control UK’.

There are a couple of other reasons that might cause a carpet to be considered a health risk — these could be tears that cause tenants to trip up and injure themselves or a worn carpet that exposes sharp nails in the flooring. In these instances, a landlord might have to replace the carpet to keep their tenants safe.

Do landlords have to replace carpets in the UK when asked?

If you have a good relationship with your landlord, you might be tempted to ask for a cheeky bit of home improvement now and then. This likely isn’t a problem for small matters, like putting up picture hooks or bookshelves, but it’s useful to remember that replacing a carpet isn’t cheap.

Depending on the size of the room, it can cost anywhere in the region of £300 - £900, so there needs to be a good reason for a landlord to make that investment. Ultimately, if you’re a tenant who simply dislikes their carpet, perhaps it’s the wrong colour or doesn’t match your furniture, it’s unlikely your landlord is going to shell out for a new one just to fit your preferences.

But, for argument's sake, let’s say you ask anyway. Legally, your landlord is not required to replace carpet unless there’s a proper reason to do so (like the health hazards mentioned above). That’s because when you signed your lease on move-in day, you accepted the place as it was — even if you didn’t notice quite how brown the carpet was at the time…

Can a tenant be charged for carpet replacement?

As a rule of thumb: if it’s your fault, it comes out of your pocket. A landlord is legally entitled to deduct the cost of any damages from their tenant’s deposit. And if damages exceed this deposit, they could take legal action for the rest. That’s why it’s always a good idea to make a record of existing damages and stains when you first move into a new property (with pictures if possible), that way you can prove to your landlord that you’re not responsible when you move out.

What a landlord can’t charge for, however, is normal wear and tear. Tenants have a right to live and move around in their homes, so naturally the carpet might wear down or become discoloured over time. But that dinner party where your guest spilled red wine? Or that time you burnt the carpet with your straighteners? Unfortunately, that kind of damage is down to you.

A few final tips…

When it comes to any problem a tenant might have with their rental property, carpets or otherwise, the best thing to do is get in touch with the landlord. There are plenty of situations that can be resolved through open communication, whether that’s by ordering a carpet cleaning service or a whole new carpet — after all, it’s in a landlord’s best interests to keep their tenants happy.

Having problems with your landlord? Check out: ‘How to deal with a landlord who is unreasonable’.

If you’re a landlord hoping to attract new tenants, have a look into: ‘What adds value to a house’.