Cleaning Guides

Do Tenants Have to Pay for Carpet Cleaning

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Sometimes, renting can be complicated. You’re most likely nervous about not damaging the property, for a start. And when it comes to the point of vacating your rental, the end of lease inspection might be the most stressful part. Well, we all know that it can be quite a task to keep everything clean and without a trace of use, especially if your place is carpeted or has rugs. And as at the end of the tenancy, you’ll want your bond back, you may have a few questions on how to go about it and do tenants have to pay for carpet cleaning.

Whose responsibility is to clean the rugs at the end of the lease agreement? Is there a law on this? Can the landlord make you pay for a professional carpet cleaning service?

Well, the information in this article will answer all these questions and come in handy if you:

  • Are renting a home with a carpet and not sure about your responsibilities at the end of the tenancy;
  • Are about to move out from your carpeted rental property;
  • Want to make sure you get your bond back after leaving a rentals with carpets.

Let’s deep dive into the details and the most common terms.

Table of Contents

Do tenants have to pay for carpet cleaning?

Tenants have to pay for carpet cleaning if there is “unusual damage” to the carpets at the end of the tenancy. If the professional carpet cleaning company charges more than what it would cost to do routine cleaning, the landlord undoubtedly will withhold the cost of the cleaning, as the damage can be classed as not being fair wear and tear.

In terms of legislation and regulations, each state in Australia has individual ones. But when it comes to cleaning, the standard terms are similar. As an example, in New South Wales, the law states that 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 to keep pets at the property.

Some landlords include a carpet cleaning fee in their lease agreement. Others require tenants to clean the carpets before moving out. In any case, landlords cannot charge for routine carpet cleaning – during the lease or from a security deposit. Neither should you be forced to use a particular company.

In most tenancy agreements, the landlord is required to do a full deep clean of the carpets every couple of years or before a tenant moves in. So, if you’re renting an apartment, and the time comes to clean the carpet by law, bring this to your landlord’s attention.

As a tenant, make sure that you do a thorough walkthrough of the apartment and note any stains or other type of damage. Then, bring those to the attention of the landlord. If you come across a stain on the carpet and it was there before moving in, then the landlord cannot make you pay for the carpet to be cleaned.

To ensure you know your rights as a tenant and whether you have to pay for carpet cleaning in a rental property, look for what it states in the following:

And while you might choose to use a professional cleaning for convenience, if that’s not a clause in your lease, it’s certainly not a requirement.

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What does “fair wear and tear” mean for a carpet in a rental?

Once a tenant moves out of a property, the landlord has to go in and assess the home’s condition. They do this to determine if any damage has been caused by the tenant while living there. Ordinary wear and tear to carpets should not count against the tenant in case of:

  • Light damage caused by continuous walking;
  • Carpets are getting thin in some areas;
  • Slight discolouration caused by dust and smoke that can easily be cleaned;

All the above are considered normal wear and tear. And the good news is that most common stains and any type of light discolouration can be addressed by a professional deep carpet clean.

Damage that is not fair wear and tear and indicates that the carpet needs to be replaced:

  • Holes and rips;
  • Burns;
  • Large food or paint stains;
  • Urine stains from pets;

In such cases, your landlord has every right to demand that you cover the cost of replacing the damaged rug or burnt-in-places carpeting.

But if certain parts were worn at the start of the tenancy, but are later damaged, this may be defined as normal carpet depreciation. You see, if carpets are threadbare, regular use during the tenancy could quite easily cause them to get ripped.

How often must carpet be replaced in a rental?

As not all carpets are created equal, it is hard to put a general timestamp on their useful life. Factors, such as water damage, pets, spills and environmental considerations, including climate, can also play a part in determining when your carpet needs to be replaced. But even if no damage has occurred, age and normal wear trigger the need for replacement.

The standard depreciation period of carpets in Australia is 10 years. The cost of replacing after that falls on the landlord. So, a tenant, who has lived in the property for 10 years and has caused no damage to the carpet, can’t be charged for carpet replacement. Any deductions from the tenant’s deposit, regarding carpets and rugs, should consider the carpets’ age,  its expected lifespan and way it’s been used by the tenant.

To note here, there isn’t a set-in-stone carpet replacement law when it comes to  rentals. And surely, one can’t demand a new rug purely on the grounds of aesthetics. However,  the landlord must replace the carpet if it somehow affects the tenants’ health or safety. So, if the carpet is mouldy, unsanitary or ripped you can ask your landlord to replace it.

How to make sure you get your bond back?

The best way to make sure you get your bond back is to leave the property in the same condition it was in at the start of the tenancy, fair wear and tear excepted. In most states, legislation requires a rental property to be returned in a “reasonably clean” condition. The definition of “reasonably” depends on the condition of the home when you moved in.

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How often should a carpet be cleaned?

Apartment carpets and rugs collect dust, dirt, pet and human hair, which can be responsible for some health issues. Air circulating over a dirty carpet can cause breathing problems, like asthma, and deep cleaning the carpet can improve air quality almost instantly. Also, if you have children, they often put their hands on the carpet and then into their mouths, which can be unsanitary, to say the least.

Vacuuming, at least once a week, will help eliminate dust and potential allergens like pet hairs, dust mites, pollen and pet dander. This will also make the carpet last longer because vacuuming removes the loose particles on the carpet’s surface before they settle deeper and start rubbing the fibres. But vacuuming alone is not always enough to maintain your carpeting in an immaculate and healthy condition. Hence, proper cleaning once in a while is a must.

So, to keep your carpet hygienic, as well as looking and performing at its best, The Carpet Institute of Australia recommends resorting to a professional deep carpet cleaning every 12 to 18 months.

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Is professional carpet cleaning better than doing it yourself?

You can always have a go at cleaning the carpets in your rental by yourself but be prepared for a mediocre quality of the results. Even if you rent a steam cleaner, for instance, these home carpet cleaning machines are rather inferior to those that professionals use. When you clean the carpets, you also run the risk of damaging them. Some rental carpet cleaners are very harsh and can lead to faster wear and tear. In contrast, a professional end of lease carpet cleaning service is designed to take care of carpetings and rungs by considering their specific type and the material they are made of.

Professional machines, namely hot water extraction equipment, can heat water to the ideal temperature and maintain it throughout the cleaning process. This makes a big difference in removing tough stains and getting rid of unfavourable odours. Or in other words, the hot water extraction technique is said to be the best carpet cleaning solution available. The machine injects a heated cleaning mixture under very high pressure that is able to penetrate the fibres of your carpet and rid the carpet of built-up grime.

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Do you have to steam-clean the carpets when you move out?

Whether you have to steam clean the carpets in a rental property or not is a little hazy. As we’ve covered above, legislation generally requires you to ensure the house is “reasonably clean”.While it’s certainly not a requirement, there are some exceptions.

For instance, if you have pets, NSW laws can require you to clean the carpets professionally before you move out. So, if you’ve made a mess of the carpet, get it steam-cleaned. It is the best method for removing stains (as long as the carpet can handle wet-cleaning methods), as the machine is able to treat deeply embedded soiling in the fabric. Keep in mind that steam-cleaning is not recommended for natural-fibre carpets. In those cases, you need to use a dry cleaning method to rejuvenate the look of the carpet.

No matter if you choose to have the carpets professionally cleaned or you steam clean the carpets yourself, you need to ensure they are cleaned to the same standard as when you moved in, fair wear and tear excepted.

If you decide to use professional carpet cleaning, it’s worth keeping the receipt. You’ll need it as proof to show to the landlord, regarding potential deductions from your bond, and especially if the carpets are under warranty.

We hope that we were able to answer all the questions you might have had. And to sum up, for a smooth tenancy experience, observe your obligations the same way you want your rights to be observed.


  • Make sure you know your rights. They are well documented in the Tenancy tribunal laws in every state and in your lease agreement.
  • As a tenant, you have the responsibility to clean your carpet regularly, ensuring you won’t leave it in bad condition at the end of the tenancy.
  • Vacuum your carpet at least once a week to prevent some serious health issues.
  • Professional carpet cleaning is better than doing the job yourself.
  • Keep the receipts for professional carpet cleaning.

You’re concerned about your deposit? Learn more about the expert carpet cleaning!

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2 years ago

Have a question, if u rent a property in NSW for less than 6 months, do u have to have the carpets cleaned?

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x