Renting can be a nightmare. You’re at the mercy of a landlord, you’re always nervous you’ll damage the property and it never really feels like your own home. But the worst part? The end of lease inspection.
Many of our clients tell us that they’re getting they’re carpets cleaned so that they can get their bond back. Sometimes this actually isn’t necessary, but the legislation and requirements in different states can be hard to follow. To make things easy we’ve summarised your rights on this tricky issue on a state by state basis
Here's some exceptions:
NSW: It's prohibited to include a term in a lease requiring you to have the carpets professionally cleaned, unless you've agreed to it as a condition for keeping pets at the property. In NSW the only requirement is to return the premises, including the carpet, in substantially the same condition as it was at the commencement of the lease, allowing for fair wear and tear.
QLD: If the carpet was professionally cleaned prior to the tenancy then it must be professionally cleaned at the end of the tenancy. There is no requirement to have the carpets cleaned during the course of the tenancy, even if you are requested to do so by your landlord.
ACT: In the ACT you must return the property in substantially the same condition as when you entered the property with an allowance for fair wear and tear. A landlord may require professional carpet cleaning when you complete your lease however the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal has determined that this clause is only enforceable when the carpet was professionally cleaned prior to the commencement of the lease.
VIC: The premises must be left in a reasonably clean condition. Whilst a real estate agent can request you to get the carpets cleaned, they cannot force you to get the carpets professionally cleaned unless it is a term of your lease.
TAS: The carpets must be cleaned to the same level they were at the start of the tenancy. Therefore, if the carpet was professionally cleaned before you moved in, it should be professionally cleaned when you leave.
SA: In S.A. you must leave the property in the same condition that you entered it, save “fair wear and tear.” Professional carpet cleaning is not required in S.A. even if it’s a condition of the lease.
WA: In WA you must return the property in the same state of cleanliness as you entered the property with an allowance for fair wear and tear. In W.A. a landlord can legally require a tenant to have their carpet professionally cleaned on vacating if this is a requirement of the lease.
What is “Fair Wear and Tear” for a carpet?
Fair wear and tear can be considered as the deterioration caused by the reasonable use of the premises with consideration to the ordinary operation of the forces of nature. Intentional damage, or damage caused by neglect, are not considered as fair wear and tear.
When it comes to carpet the NSW Department of Fair Trading has reached several rulings that help confirm the definition of “fair wear and tear”.
- Damage caused by walking on the carpet, or sunlight fading the carpet is considered fair wear and tear (Bell and Bell v Boccola, Campbell and Lawrence )
- Baby vomit on the carpet is not fair wear and tear (2 Test P/L v Rajasingham )
- In 2009, a case was brought where the carper was damaged by a red-wine stain however the tenant had paid for carpet cleaning. The tribunal held that stains left after the clean are fair wear and tear (McCarthy v Isagai)
Most states generally hold that that the expected life of a carpet is 10 years, and the tribunal will take this into account when making a decision on damages. This means that a tenant cannot be asked to pay for new carpet, when the damaged carpet is 6 years old.
How to Make Sure You Get Your Bond Back
The best way to make sure you get your bond back is to make sure you return it as close as possible to its’ pre-rental condition. We’ve covered some great tips to make sure you get your bond back in the article How to Make Sure You Get Your Bond Back
Choosing a Carpet Cleaner
If you feel that professional carpet cleaning is necessary when you move out, then we recommend that you chose a carpet cleaner with a good reputation, who warrants their workmanship and won’t leave the carpet too wet.
The team of Electrodry carpet cleaners will always be happy to help and they guarantee their work, so if you’ve got any concerns they’ll happily return free of charge to re-clean the carpet.
The recommendations made in the article should not be used as a guide when making legally binding decisions with financial consequences when you complete your tenancy. We strongly recommend you undertake your own research, thoroughly review your tenancy lease, liaise with your Real Estate Agent and if required, call the Department of Fair Trading or Rental Tenancies board in your state.
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