Can a landlord charge for carpet cleaning? The answer to this question can be yes or no. A landlord can force you to pay for carpet cleaning if the carpet has been damaged beyond ordinary tear and wear. 

However, they cannot force a tenant to pay for a carpet that has experienced normal wear and tear. It’s your responsibility to master the basic apartment carpet cleaning laws to avoid being taken for a ride by your landlord.

Are you moving out but your landlord has held you hostage with claims that you have damaged their carpet beyond ordinary wear and tear, stay around to know the answer to can a landlord charge for carpet cleaning? 

In case you are afraid of approaching your landlord to demand your security deposit because you don’t know if you are right or wrong, here is everything you should know.

Can A Landlord Charge For Carpet Cleaning?

It’s against the carpet cleaning laws in most states for a landlord to charge a tenant for standard carpet cleaning. Carpet cleaning is included in the turnover costs, and so it’s the landlord’s responsibility to clean or replace carpets that aren’t damaged beyond normal wear and tear.

In most of the security deposit disputes tackled in courts, the verdict favoured the tenants. That’s because courts classify basic carpet cleaning as normal wear and tear. In some states, it is illogical for landlords to withhold deposit money for routine carpet cleaning.

In other words, if the carpet cleaning load is within a regular professional cleaning service’s rates, the landlord has no right to withhold your deposit. In conclusion,  the landlord cannot charge you for carpet cleaning if the damage is within the normal tear and wear.

When Should A Tenant Pay For Carpet Cleaning?

Can a landlord charge for carpet cleaning? If so, when should I pay for carpet cleaning? These are the most frequently asked questions when people are moving out after their tenancy agreement has expired.

When you rent an apartment, you will likely be presented with your obligations and rights. Both the rights and obligations work hand in hand, and so you cannot violate all your commitments and expect your rights to be presented in a gold platter. 

One core obligation that tenants cannot disregard is to ensure they leave the apartment as tidy and clean as they found it.

If that isn’t possible, they should leave it better than it was when they moved in. Therefore, it’s your job to thoroughly clean your apartment before moving out, ensuring it is as clean and impressive as you found. If DIY cleaning and vacuuming don’t remove all the marks and stains, you can get a professional carpet cleaner to assess and give it a deeper cleaning.

Based on tenancy tribunal laws, however, a tenant should only hire a professional carpet cleaner if the soiled areas are clearly visible on photographs. If not, the normal DIY cleaning and vacuuming will be enough.

Experts advise you to hire a professional carpet cleaner yourself. That way, the landlord won’t take advantage of your naivety.

When is It Right for a Landlord to Charge A Tenant For Carpet Cleaning?

The fact that you are protected by the state carpet cleaning laws doesn’t mean you should leave your apartment in a mess after the tenancy has expired. A landlord has the legal right to withhold some of your security deposit to pay for carpet cleaning if it is severely damaged or soiled. If after checking the apartment the landlord discovers you have excessively abused the carpets causing unusual wear and tear, they can deduct some of the money you paid as a security deposit to cater to the carpet cleaning.

The documented and confirmed types of unusual wear and tear in carpets include hard-to-clean pet urine, stained spots, oily, and painted spots. Unusual damages require more time and money to clean. They aren’t listed among the regular turnover costs, and so it’s your responsibility to pay for the cleaning services.

When moving in, read the lease agreement to understand what it says about cleaning carpets. Some lease agreements require the tenant to get the carpets professionally cleaned before they vacate. That doesn’t mean if you don’t do the routine cleaning, your deposit must be deducted to cater to the cleanup.

When The Landlord Has to Pay for The Carpet Cleaning?

As a landlord, you must observe your obligations. You shouldn’t pay attention to exploiting your tenants to the extent of neglecting your duties. It is your responsibility to pay for the cleaning of your carpets if the tenants leave them precisely the way they were before they moved in.

The carpet cleaning laws dictate that you should not force your tenants to carry out or pay for the deep-cleaning of carpets. 

It’s logically illogical to enforce lease agreement clauses that force tenants to get the carpets professionally cleaned before they move out. The smart tenants will always ignore such provisions and you cannot force them to do it at a gunpoint.

And if they do, you have no right to withhold their deposit. If they present the case before a court of law, you will likely lose it and end up being forced to pay for the inconveniences you caused them. So, as a landlord, you should not force tenants to pay for carpet cleaning tasks you can complete by yourself.


The rights of the tenants and landlords are well documented on the Tenancy tribunal laws in every state. For a smooth tenancy experience, tenants, as well as landlords, are advised to observe their obligations the same way they want their rights to be observed. As a tenant, you have the responsibility of cleaning your carpet regularly, ensuring you won’t leave it in an awful condition at the end of the tenancy.

If the carpets suffer severe damages, it is your responsibility to get a professional to clean the stained spots and replace the ones that cannot be cleaned. As for the landlords, they are supposed to only enforce laws within the stipulated Tenancy Tribunal guidelines. 

You should force tenants to pay for professional carpet cleaning services if the carpets aren’t damaged or dirtied beyond the normal wear and tear.