Can I replace the carpet?
April 20, 2006 12:42 PM   Subscribe

When is it reasonable to ask for a new carpet in a long term apartment rental?

I hate moving... With a vengeance. So much so that I have lived in my same apartment for just shy of 10 years. (Plus it's rent controlled and I get my 2-BR apartment for hundreds less than a 1-BR currently. - trying to save money for a condo/house, etc.)

Over the course of that time I've transformed from being ye old fresh out of college slob with 2 giant cats (20+lbs) to a more reasonably clean living person with 2 giant cats.

Now, the apartment I live in had new cheap thready carpet installed just prior to moving in to the place, but after a decade of myself, a roommate and the aforemention 2 giant cats, it's a thrashed carpet. No amount of steam cleaning, vacuuming, voodoo and prayer is going to fix it and I'd really rather just get it replaced. (Hell, I'd rather just lose the carpet and seal the concrete and use throw rugs)

While much of the damage has been due to my activities, some of the damage in the bedrooms came as a result of a water flood from an upstairs neighbor had.

I'm assuming I can't just go in and rip things out on my own accord. Is it reasonable to ask my apartment manager for replacement flooring? I'd even be willing to sign a little document saying that I promise not to be a bad slovenly person under penalty of death.

Help's appreciated (and I live in Los Angeles for anything that might deal with the law)
posted by drewbage1847 to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
It's certainly reasonable to ask. Who's your landlord: a private individual or a massive corporation? You might have more luck with the former. Would you be willing to spend any money on it?
posted by mr_roboto at 12:52 PM on April 20, 2006

Five to ten years is considered a reasonable lifespan for rental carpet. However, I've read that the landlord isn't required to replace it unless it's a health/safety issue. That said, I wouldn't hesitate to ask. You're a long-term tenant, and that makes you valuable in the landlord's eyes. If he/she hesitates, maybe throw in something to sweeten the deal?
posted by moira at 12:53 PM on April 20, 2006

You're a long-term tenant, and that makes you valuable in the landlord's eyes.

Except that it's a rent-controlled apartment, which in NYC would make him a liability the landlord is dying to get rid of; I can't speak for LA. Anyway, couldn't hurt to ask, but I'll be surprised if the answer is favorable.
posted by languagehat at 1:02 PM on April 20, 2006

Most of the places I have lived (admittedly, in Texas) the apartments had a policy of how long a carpet lasted and if you lived there that long, they'd replace it. It's usually 6-8 years. It's worth asking about at the very least.
posted by nadawi at 1:13 PM on April 20, 2006

Yikes, I missed that. You may have to offer to pay for part or all.
posted by moira at 1:15 PM on April 20, 2006

Check with your local rent control board. Potentially the law offers you leverage to get it done (or else pay less rent, yay!):
"...Paint or carpets in a condition that do not threaten a tenant's health or safety may not have to be replaced. Under Berkeley's Rent Ordinance...If conditions in your tenant's unit have substantially deteriorated since she first rented it, she can file a petition for a rent ceiling reduction. "Substantial deterioration" means a noticeable decline in the physical quality of the rental unit resulting from a failure to perform reasonable or timely maintenance. After 15 years, the paint and carpet may have outlived their useful life, and if so, should be replaced. Depending on the actual condition of the paint and carpeting, the tenant may be granted a rent ceiling reduction for deterioration until these items are replaced."
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 1:27 PM on April 20, 2006

Here's some advice on approaching a landlord regarding non-major repairs that aren't directly related to habitability.
posted by scody at 1:27 PM on April 20, 2006

Ask the landlord to please replace it. The worst they can do is say No. Or, since you've got a pretty good deal, offer to buy some nice quality carpet of your choosing, and ask the landlord to install it. If the landlord buys the carpet, it'll be cheap crap, but landlords usually have installers that they work with, so they might be happy to install good carpet.
posted by theora55 at 5:21 PM on April 20, 2006

Landlords are often quite decent about this sort of thing, unless you're living in a slum. In our buildings we expect to have to do this about once every 4 years.
posted by ikkyu2 at 7:28 PM on April 20, 2006

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