How to Keep Your Rental’s Carpets Looking Great
It turns out, not even carpets like getting walked all over.
So the tenants in 42 Boulevard Road St. just moved out, and the move-out video your inspector took arrived in your email inbox this morning. The first thing you notice as he walks into the living room: the carpet is probably going to need to be entirely replaced. Two years’ worth of shuffling feet, mud, and coffee stains form a visible outline of the couch, and that’s just the worst of many spaces. Replacing carpeting is a huge chunk of change, so you ask yourself — is there a way to keep that from happening again next time?
Don’t Have Carpet Right Inside Entry Doors
Even if it takes a bit of extra work, cutting the carpet and installing a threshold, creating an area just inside the front door that has a hard surface of some sort should be considered a necessity. Encourage tenants to adopt a ‘shoe-off inside’ policy, but don’t expect it to work — if you provide a complimentary mat, however, it will probably pay for itself in carpet-cleaning fees.
Insist on a Bi-Annual Carpet Cleaning
Even if a tenant signs a 2-year-or-greater lease, don’t let the carpet go that long unattended. The dirt that’s on the top of the carpet today can and will get ground deeper and deeper into the carpet as it gets more and more tread-upon. As it reaches the deepest levels, it will cause the yarn itself to discolor and break down. Prepare your tenants for a twice-yearly carpet cleaning — once at the end of winter, and once at the end of summer are your best bets — to keep the carpet vital for as long as possible.
Spend a Little to Save a Lot
Win some goodwill with your tenants and save yourself a cleaning bill down the road by dropping $49.99 on an inexpensive vacuum cleaner and dropping it off with a new tenant as a housewarming gift. You can’t make them vacuum, but they’ll be much more likely to do so if they’re equipped for the task.
Minimize Carpet in General
If your home has carpet and it isn’t in a bedroom and possibly the living room, consider straight ripping it out and putting hard floor down in its place. Especially in the dining room and kitchen, but also in the study, the family room, and even the hall, each high-traffic carpeted area is a future expense waiting to drain your reserves.
If you do the math, installing a hard surface may cost more upfront, but will more than pay for itself in the long-run by saving carpet cleaning and replacement. Especially given that the modern sensibility is that wall-to-wall isn’t particularly wonderful in the first place, it can be worth the expense to replace it before it ever becomes an issue.
If the tenant wants to put down throw rugs, that’s their business — but you don’t have to pay for them to be cleaned, either. By minimizing carpet, especially by the entrances, and making it easy for the carpet to stay clean, you can squeeze an extra year or three out of that carpet — which is a significantly lower TCO than replacing it every other tenant.