What Is The California Rental Law On Carpet Cleaning And Charges?

Last Updated on November 11, 2021 by

 California rental laws on carpet cleaning and charges state that the landlord is responsible for carpet cleaning charges. They should not charge tenants for it. Some make the mistake of deducting from their tenant’s security deposit or charging them during their lease.

Who Should Cater For Carpet Cleaning Charges Per The California Rental Laws?

Carpet Cleaning Charges Per The California Rental Laws

The person who is accountable for carpet cleaning costs varies from state to state, depending on the governing rental laws. The landlord is responsible for these charges in California except for special occasions such as when the carpet has undergone excess damage and dirt such as oil spills. They determine unusual damages and dirt by considering the time it will take for the cleaning professional to clear dirt and the related cost. From there, the landlord can decide whether to ask for extra carpet cleaning charges from the tenant or not. 

California rental laws on carpet cleaning charges are there to protect tenants from greedy landlords. Some come up with excessive carpet cleaning costs with the aim of extortion. That is why the laws state that before moving in, a tenant should have precise details on the landlord’s expectations on the carpet before move-out. A tenant must leave the carpet in its original condition unless the lease agreement states otherwise.

When Should The Landlord Charge The Tenant For Carpet Cleaning In California?

 Landlord Charge The Tenant For Carpet Cleaning In California

There are special incidences when the landlord can charge for carpet cleaning from the tenant. It is only under the following cases they are allowed to do so as stated by the California rental laws:

When The Lease Agreement Allows

Some landlords have their lease agreements stating that it is upon the tenant to cater for carpet cleaning charges. In such a case, the tenant has no alternative provided they signed the lease agreement. 

A tenant is responsible for hiring professional carpet cleaners before leaving their rented space in such a scenario. Failure to do so, the California law allows the landlord to withhold a standard cleaning fee from the tenant’s bond. Alternatively, they could find another way to recoup the carpet cost.

When The Carpet Is Excessively Damaged 

 It is usual for a carpet or other furniture to undergo normal wear and tear when living in a rented space. However, some damages are beyond “ordinary” wear and tear. An example of such unusual damage includes oil stains, paint, pets’ urine, and other serious blemishes, which require a longer cleaning period by professional cleaners.

 Such stains also require extra charges making it only fair for the landlord to ask for additional cleaning charges from their tenant. Tenants should only pay for these charges upon receiving a copy of the itemized cleaning charges.

Poor Carpet Cleaning When The Tenant Is Moving Out

 Tenants must leave their rented space in its original conditions as stated by the California rental laws. They should abide by the law and leave the rented space, including the carpet, in its original state. Failing to do so could result in the landlord withholding some of their security deposit to serve as carpet cleaning charges.

What Are The Responsibilities Of Landlords Per California Rental Laws?

Everyone wishes to move in freshly cleaned and new rental space without nasty carpets and moldy furniture and appliances. Therefore, it is important for anyone, before signing a lease agreement, to verify and ensure that the landlord will have the rental space cleaned before occupancy to prevent future disagreements during move-out. Some of the responsibilities set for landlords by California rental laws include;

Provision Of A Conducive Living Space.

California laws state that a rental space must meet all local and state building and health codes to be considered habitable. These codes include proper plumbing providing hot and cold water, electric systems, working gas, operational smoke detectors, heat systems, and good weatherproof roofs and walls. A livable rental space should also have a clear and safe emergency exit with no harmful conditions like toxic fumes. Some appliances like carpets and luxury appliances are only applicable when they affect the tenant’s health and well-being.

Customizing Rental Spaces And Charges

Lack of a refrigerator, washing machine, or dishwasher does not make a rental property inhabitable. It is upon the landlord to come up with extra charges for customization when they provide such appliances to their tenants. They can do this by coming up with precise lease agreements, including the repair charges during and after the lease. Tenants should carefully review the lease agreement before signing and moving in, especially replacing and repairing the provided appliances.

Setting And Collecting Security Deposits.

Some rental spaces come with all households appliances, and like any other item, they are prone to wear and tear. For this reason, California rental laws state that landlords must come up with a set security deposit. From that security deposit, they can deduct any incurred costs for damages or replacement of any appliance. However, it is against California laws for a landlord to charge the full price of an appliance from a security deposit. 

They should consider the age of the item, which is pro-rated against its average life, to come up with what to charge the tenant. For example, if a tenant occupies a rental space with an 8-year-old carpet, a landlord should pro-rate its cost for the remaining two years to end its useful life. 

Considering The Useful Life Span Of Items And Appliances.

All items and appliances have their useful life span, including carpets used in rental houses. The landlord is responsible for replacing appliances that have reached their useful life span, which leads to normal wear and tear. For example, under California rental laws guidelines, a carpet’s useful life span is ten years. After ten years, a landlord must replace the carpet if the tenant has not caused abnormal damage to it. 

When Does California Law Restrict Landlords From Charging Tenants For Carpet Cleaning?

There are some special cases in which landlords can ask for carpet cleaning charges from tenants. There are also incidences in which California laws barns them from doing so. For instance, they are not allowed to charge their tenants for standard cleaning. Professional carpet cleaners use standard cleaning charges by considering the amount of energy and time spent during cleaning. Some landlords may take advantage of their tenants to ask for an amount higher than the standard cleaning charge.

California rental laws consider basic carpet cleaning as part of normal wear and tear hence prohibiting landlords from withholding tenants’ security deposit in such an incidence.

Provided the carpet does not exceed normal cleaning rates as per professional cleaners, it has normal damage. A tenant should not pay for any cleaning or repair charges that require the landlord to bear all cleaning costs.

What Are The Similarities Between California And San Francisco Rental Laws On Carpet Cleaning Charges?

Rental laws on carpet cleaning and costs differ from state to state. There have been endless disputes between tenants and landlords on whose responsibility is to clean the carpet during moving out. San Francisco and California laws on this issue share some similarities. They include;

1. In both states, landlords are responsible for carpet cleaning charges. They are also responsible for replacing it upon reaching the end of its useful life span.

2. Both states check whether the carpet under consideration has damages due to normal wear and tear or excess dirt and damage. They do this using professional’s carpet cleaners’ standard charging rates. It usually occurs when there is a dispute between a tenant and a landlord on who to take the cleaning charges responsibility.

3. During move-out, tenants should leave carpets in their original condition as they found them during their move-in, except in cases of normal wear and tear.

4. The law states that tenants should cater cleaning charges if the carpet undergoes abnormal wear and tear in both states. The tenant’s negligence not to clean and maintain the carpet during their lease is against the law, and they should pay for any extra costs incurred.

How Long Should A Carpet Stay In A Rental Property According To California Rental Laws?

According to California rental laws on carpet cleaning and charges, a standard quality carpet should stay for ten years. It undergoes normal wear and tear during this period, provided the tenant does not damage it. After ten years, landlords should replace the carpets as they have served their useful life span.

 If the carpets have spills of oils or holes from trod of broken glass pieces after this period, tenants pay for those damages. Low-standard carpets have a lower useful life span which ranges between 3-5 years.


California rental laws state that the landlord is in charge of carpet cleaning and replacing charges and should not ask anything from the tenant. Some incidences require the tenant to incur cleaning costs, such as when the carpet has excessive damage, which is beyond the normal wear and tear.

Leave a Comment