One Utah Redditor was in disbelief when their landlord expected them to replace the carpet in an entire room over a tiny hole.
The r/LandlordLove subreddit is an ironically named community for complaining about bad landlords. Sometimes, tenants post on the sub looking for advice about how to handle conflicts with their landlords.
This time, the disagreement was about a tiny bit of fraying at the edge of a piece of carpet.
“Landlord is charging us to replace the whole room’s carpet for a small hole by the door, along with another room with a bigger hole,” the original poster said. “Can they do that?”
Their post included two photos: one where a few of the carpet’s threads were visible right at the edge of the doorframe and one where the seam between two pieces of carpet had separated slightly.
“First hole is less than two inches wide,” said the Redditor. “I don’t think it’s fair that we’re being charged for the entire room for a small tear … If it’s within their right[s], we’re willing to pay, but I’m unsure if the charges are reasonable.”
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, over four billion pounds of carpet are thrown away every year in the U.S. alone, accounting for more than 1% by weight and about 2% by volume of trash.
Since discarded carpeting is so bulky, it also creates a hassle for solid waste operations, while the variety of materials present in carpet makes it tough to recycle. Sustainably and economically speaking, it is always best to hold onto carpeting for as long as possible, fixing signs of wear and tear instead of tossing the entire carpet over a small flaw, as this landlord wanted to do.
Some manufacturers also have end-of-life take-back programs, so homeowners should always check with the maker before throwing out old carpeting.
States like California and New York have also mandated that “carpet manufacturers establish a convenient program for collection and recycling of discarded and unused carpeting” to mitigate this problem, the Natural Resources Defense Council reported.
Other Redditors jumped to the original poster’s defense.
“This could be considered normal wear and tear, especially if the door rubs the carpet,” said one commenter.
As Lawyers.com explained, “ordinary wear and tear” is the legal phrase for the kind of damage and deterioration that is normally expected to happen in a home when people live there. Landlords can’t charge tenants for it, only for unusual damage that was caused by the tenant.
“I’d say it is maybe also the result of improper workmanship,” another user speculated, pointing out how the door appears to rub on the carpet when it opens and closes. They said it was “possibly a result of using carpet padding under the carpet where the door sweeps, though it may also be the carpet was too thick a choice.”
Once again, that would be beyond the tenant’s control, making it the landlord’s responsibility, according to Lawyers.com.
A third user pointed out that replacing the whole room’s carpeting would be a drastic response to this tiny flaw. “They can easily cut it back and patch it,” said the Redditor. “Refuse to pay.”
Another commenter agreed. “They’re trying to pull a fast one on you,” they said. “Both are simple and inexpensive fixes.”
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