Can the landlord charge me for carpet? - Los Angeles, California

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Old Dec 2nd, 2008, 12:01 AM   #1
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Default Can the landlord charge me for carpet? - Los Angeles, California

Hi everyone!
I have been renting my current home for almost 6 years and am not ready to move on to buy a house. When I moved in the carpet was not new. Over the course of 6 years, the roof leaked which caused some staining on the carpet. But then there is also a couple of pet stains and major wear. However, the carpet is poor quality. Not my landlord is bringing up the pet stains and wants to charge me for replacing the entire carpet. Can he do that? Thanks so much!
p.s. I am in Los Angeles
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Old Dec 2nd, 2008, 12:02 AM   #2
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Default re: Can the landlord charge me for carpet? - Los Angeles, California

sorry, I meant I am NOW ready to move on....
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Old Dec 2nd, 2008, 11:19 AM   #3
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Default re: Can the landlord charge me for carpet? - Los Angeles, California

The LL can charge only a depreciated value for the carpet in the unit ruined by pet stains. Items are depreciated over a number of years off a LL's taxes by taking a small percentage of the cost each year from his taxes. Most LLs use a number between 5 and 10 years for carpet depreciation purposes, the average is 7 years. If he used 7 years and the carpet had been new at move in, the most he could charge you with is 1/7 the cost of the carpet's replacement (since it is already at least 6 years old). If he uses 10 years on his taxes, he could only charge you with 4/10 of the cost had it been new at move in. Since it was not new, he can only charge you by the following formula:

Depreciation years - age of carpet = remaining life of carpet
Remaining life / depreciation years = percentage he can charge you

Example: If the carpet is now 8 yrs old, he can charge nothing if he uses 5 or 7 years on his taxes and only 2/10 if he uses 10 years.
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Old Oct 26th, 2009, 11:34 PM   #4
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Default re: Can the landlord charge me for carpet? - Los Angeles, California

Iam actually dealing with something very similar. We moved in almost 2 years ago being told that when we move out the place will be renovated and SOLD to the public not to lease any longer , so I could paint the walls etc. Which we did.Also because of the renovations he didnt take a pet deposit because he knew that they would tear everything out anyways. WELL, The renovations never happened because they could not sell the units for such a high cost in the bad economy.So we stayed and that landlord quit due to lowering his pay. We got a new landlord and everything went down hill. The place was not kept clean etc... When we decided to move out I had asked him if I should steam clean the carpet and he told me "no, it should be fine" >Well when he came in for the final check of the house he told me that they change carpets every five years and since we were there for 2 years then he would subtract how much we used and charged us a percentage. I told him right then and there, "I have never heard of that.Is it on the lease?" He replied "Yes, its there" Well, I have 3 dogs and knew there was some stains. (but before we moved out I scrubbed most of it out for a full day)also let me remind you that we didnt let the dogs in all the rooms.Only the living room and was mostly in the kitchen. He had also mentioned something like he is going to charge us for cleaning the place....which did not make sense because I had spent a whole day with my mother in law and sister in law and husband cleaning the place top to bottom!It was cleaner than when we had moved in.Spotless and all walls painted back to the original white. Our deposit just came back 23 days after we moved out. The deposit I had put in was $2100 all I got back was $463.51! They said they replaced the whole carpet in the house! This place is 1800 sq/ft. We were charged $1636.49 I called him today and he did not want to co-operate at all.So I asked to talk to the supervisor and he told me she is hard to get a hold of...Called her anyways and havent heard back. Now Iam very upset and willing to do anything to get my $1600 back. Please direct me in the right direction. Any advice would help. Thank you.
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Old Oct 27th, 2009, 10:56 AM   #5
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Default re: Can the landlord charge me for carpet? - Los Angeles, California

Depreciation is standard in the rental industry and does not have to be listed in your lease. It is standard procedure and is an IRS formula. They can charge you for the depreciated value of the carpet that was stained by your pets. The method for this is to subtract the period you lived there (or the age of the carpet, whichever is higher) from the life span of the carpet (usually 5-10 years, 7 is average). This yield the life that should be left. Take this number, divide it by the number of depreciation yrs, then multiply by the cost of the new carpet.

Example: IF the carpet was new at move in, the LL depreciates carpet for 5 yrs, & you lived there 2 yrs.
5yrs - 2 yrs = 3 yrs of life should have been left in the carpet.
3yrs / 5 yrs = .6 percentage you would owe for if he uses 5 yrs.
1800 s. ft (assuming it was all ruined) / 9 ft per yard = 200 sq yds of carpet
200 sq yds @ $10 per yard = $2000 cost of replacement carpet
$2000 x .6 = $1200 would have been your cost for carpet in this example

Of course this is only an example. You would have to calculate how many sq. yds of carpet were stained by your pets, the cost of mid range carpet in your area, the age of the carpet at move out, and would have to ascertain how many years the LL depreciates carpet for (IRS schedules use between 5 and 10 yrs, an average of 7 is standard). He can only charge you for the carpet that you or your pets ruined, not any other room of carpet. Do these calculations and see what number you get. Then ask the LL (in writing) for his calculations and how he arrived at that number. If you disagree, you can sue in small claims court. Be prepared to show and explain your calculations to a judge and ask that the LL do the same.
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