Carpet Conversation: How Often Do Michigan Landlords Need to Replace Carpets?
How often have you spilled red wine on a carpet? We’re all guilty of it. And maintaining it can be a lot of work, especially in a rental. Not only does it make the property look nicer, but it’s also required by law in some cases.
In this article, we’ll discuss why landlords should keep an eye on their carpets and what they need to do to ensure they’re up to code.
Michigan Law on Rental Habitability
Under Michigan law, landlords are required to keep their rentals in a “habitable” condition. This means the property must be fit for human occupancy and free of dangerous or unhealthy conditions.
While many factors contribute to a property’s habitability, one of the most important is the carpet’s condition. If a landlord fails to maintain the rug in a safe and clean condition, they could be found in violation of the state’s habitability laws. This could result in some penalties, including fines, repairs, and even eviction.
As such, landlords need to know their cleaning and replacement obligations.
When Should Landlords Replace Their Carpets?
The IRS assumes that a rental home has a useful life of 27.5 years. The property depreciates or wears out during this period, at least, for tax return purposes. The IRS also allows investors to depreciate some things faster than 27.5 years, like appliances and carpets that may be depreciated over five years. (You can read more on what the IRS has to say about carpet depreciation in its publication and bulletin.)
Carpet depreciation includes several factors, such as age, type, and location (i.e., the amount of traffic it gets). Most experts agree carpets should be replaced every 5-7 years, but if they shows depreciation before this point, they may need to be replaced sooner. Conversely, if it’s well-maintained and shows little signs of wear, it may last longer than 7 years.
Ultimately, use your best judgment when deciding whether to replace their rental carpet. State laws don’t require that you replace, repair, or clean them regularly, but you might find it necessary to keep up with habitability rules for tenants to stay safe.
Carpet Types and Maintenance Tips for Landlords
There are a variety of different carpet types in the market, and each one has its own unique maintenance requirements. You’ll want to ensure that you remove all dirt, dust, and other debris accumulated over time to meet state and local health codes.
Here are some tips for keeping different kinds of carpets clean:
- Wool Carpet: Vacuum regularly and have it professionally cleaned at least once a year. Spot-clean any stains as soon as possible.
- Nylon Carpet: Vacuum regularly and have it professionally cleaned every 6-12 months. Spot-clean any stains immediately. Inspect the carpet for signs of wear and tear every few months.
- Polyester Carpet: Vacuum regularly and have it professionally cleaned every 6-12 months. Spot-clean any stains immediately. Inspect the carpet for signs of wear and tear every few months.
- Acrylic Carpet: Vacuum regularly and have it professionally cleaned at least once a year. Spot-clean any stains as soon as possible.
- Olefin Carpet: Vacuum regularly and have it professionally cleaned every 6-12 months. Spot-clean any stains immediately. Inspect the carpet for signs of wear and tear every few months.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer regarding carpet maintenance. The type of carpet you have will play a big role in how often you need to clean it and how much effort you need to put into upkeep. In addition, the type of tenants you have will also affect the degree of carpet maintenance necessary.
Should You Require Tenants to Clean the Carpet?
In some cases, landlords may require tenants to keep the carpet clean as a condition of their lease agreement. This means that, in addition to meeting the state’s cleaning requirements, the tenant will also be responsible for keeping the carpet clean on their own.
There are a few different ways to go about this. Landlords can either specify how often the carpet needs to be cleaned (e.g., once a month), or they can leave it up to the tenant to decide. In either case, it’s important to include language in the lease agreement that clarifies who is responsible for cleaning it and the expectations.
Enforcing a carpet cleaning schedule can be tricky, but here are some tips to ensure compliance:
- Have proof of carpet cleaning prior to move-in. Use your move-in checklist or document to require the tenant to return the carpet in the same shape when they move out. Thus, requiring the tenant to submit a receipt for professional cleaning.
- Include a clause in the lease agreement allowing them to enter the rental unit to inspect the carpet’s condition. This will allow you to see if they are keeping up with their end of the bargain.
- Require tenants to provide proof of professional carpet cleanings (e.g., receipts, invoices, etc.). This will help you verify that the tenant has the carpet cleaned as often as they should.
- Impose financial penalties on tenants who fail to keep it clean. This could take the form of a late fee or an additional charge on the rent. The amount should be enough to incentivize the tenant to keep the carpet clean, but not so much that it becomes a financial burden.
Requiring tenants to keep the carpet clean is an excellent way to ensure it stays in good condition. It’s essential to ensure that all expectations are clear from the start, so there’s no confusion down the road.
Recovering Carpet Cleaning Costs from Tenants
Landlords who require their tenants to keep the carpet clean may be able to recover the cost of professional cleanings from them. To do this, you’ll need to include language in the lease agreement that allows them to charge for professional cleanings and keep all cleaning invoices and receipts.
You can either deduct the cost from the security deposit or add it to the rent. If you choose to remove it from the security deposit, ensure that you have enough documentation to prove that the charges are legitimate. If you want to add it to the rent, give the tenant an advance notice so there are no surprises.
Moreover, whether landlords can recover tenant carpet cleaning costs will depend on state law. For example, some states prohibit landlords from charging for professional cleanings, while others allow it under certain circumstances. For Michigan, landlords can only charge for professional cleanings if the carpet is damaged beyond normal wear and tear.
Clean Carpets, Clean Rentals
Carpet cleaning is an integral part of maintaining a rental property. By requiring tenants to keep the carpet clean, landlords can help ensure that it stays in good condition for years. And sometimes, they may even be able to recover the cost of professional cleanings from the tenant.
Either way, it’s essential to be clear about expectations and requirements from the start.
Get in touch with our team at Logical Property Management to get expert help with managing your properties and tenants. We’ve dealt with homes (and carpets!) for more than two decades–we have all the tricks under our sleeve to protect the value of your home and steer clear of lawsuits.