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What to Charge Residents at Move-Out for Worn-Out Carpet

Worn-Out Carpet
June 2018

How do apartment owners and management companies calculate the amount to charge residents for items such as damaged carpet when residents move out? For example, we replaced carpet in an apartment in May 2017 and the resident just moved out in April and the carpet is 100 percent destroyed.

Most use a prorated calculation with other considerations such as additional wear and tear and based on state regulations. Below are edited responses, based on an online discussion.

  • If it was new when the resident moved in, they pay to replace all of it.
  • Figure the cost based on a 5-year lifespan for the carpet. If the new carpet cost $1,000 and they lived there for one year, they owe $800.
  • Through Excel, you can create a formula whereby you enter the date the carpet was installed, the price of the carpet, the move-in date and the move-out date. The dollar amount is then calculated automatically.
  • In Missouri, it’s a 5-year legal life, plus the cost to seal the subfloor. Be sure to send the resident the invoice and pictures of the damage.
  • In Indiana, judges place a 6-year life expectancy on carpet. You need the previous carpet bill to show the age and pictures to show the carpet condition at replacement. Then you prorate it with what is left.
  • We use a 7-year calculation and the resident moved out after seven years. I want to add a “WTF” charge, because their dog ate through to the concrete and it is stained everywhere.
  • We take 30 percent off for each year they lived there based on the price we’d pay our vendor to replace it.
  • We prorate it over 10 years, because the carpet came with a 10-year warranty. We add an administrative fee.
  • We use the calculator that our carpet company provides on their online portal.
  • If the carpet is 1-year-old or less, we charge 100 percent of the original value.
  • Make sure you take pictures and have a carpet company verify that there is pet damage (if that’s the case). This way, they cannot dispute it— at least you’ll win in court!
  • I will tell you that every group of managers I work with agrees that the life of an average carpet is now about 3 years as opposed to 5 or more. Everyone wants new– so has that changed the definition of normal wear and tear.

—The Apartment Management & Maintenance Support Group