Carpet clean enforcement?

Question from Christine updated on 15th February 2013:

Do we have to commercially clean the carpets prior to leaving the rental property? Our landlord wrote it in as part of our contract that we have to commercially clean the carpets prior to leaving the unit. My father is a landlord himself and says the landlord can't enforce this (even if it is written in the contract) so long as the carpet is left clean and tidy upon leaving. Is this true? I do not wish to lose our bond due to not commercially cleaning the carpet.

Our expert Juliet Robinson responded:

The Residential Tenancies Act requires that a tenant leave a property “reasonably clean and tidy”. Tenancy Tribunal decisions have established that a landlord cannot assume at the start of a tenancy that the carpets will require cleaning when the tenancy ends. That judgment can only be made at the end of the tenancy. For that reason a condition flatly requiring the carpets to be cleaned is not enforceable. However, there could be circumstances which entitle a landlord to require that a tenant have the carpets cleaned at end of tenancy. For example, a tenancy agreement may permit a tenant to have a cat or dog on condition that the carpets are cleaned and sanitised at end of tenancy. It could be argued that the requirement to remove any potential animal fleas and bugs at end of tenancy is both reasonable and predictable. This ensures that the carpets are sufficiently clean after the pets have gone, as the next tenant may have a crawling toddler! If such conditions were to be rejected by a Tenancy Tribunal, pet owners may find fewer and fewer properties available for them to rent!

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