Carpet damage problem

Daniel asks:
(updated on Monday, September 28th 2020)

We came from overseas a few months ago and found a pet-friendly place to rent. Unfortunately, our cat didn’t do well with the adjustment and vomited on the carpet. We tried to fix it, but were not able to and damaged the carpet. We paid a professional cleaner who also could not fix the damage.

Now, the property manager say we have to replace the carpet. That’s all good, but do we have to pay for the entire carpet or just the portion that was damaged? What about depreciation? The room is quite large in comparison to the damage. The original carpet is available but they refuse to patch the carpet. We got another room professionally cleaned, but they say there are stains that were not there before and therefore they need to replace the carpet as well.

So I’m wondering whether this is all legit and/or whether I have an option to actually just pay for the damage we caused instead of everything? I know the cap is with our bond, but I still feel they are trying to rip us off. Any advice?

Our Experts Answer:

When your cat vomited on the carpet you should have engaged a carpet professional to clean the carpet. Many people try to do carpet cleaning themselves without knowing how to do it properly. As a result, they often do more damage (by rubbing the stain) than the original stain caused.

It depends where the carpet damage is in a room. Sometimes a small stain in a hidden location can be patched. In the centre of the room, however, patching is generally not an option. The other room is similar. I suggest you ask the property manager about the owner’s insurance. You may be able to limit your exposure, thereby avoiding the issue of being asked to pay for replacing all the carpet.

Depreciation will have a great bearing on the current value of your carpet. Inland Revenue depreciation tables show that carpet in residential rental properties has an estimated life of 5, 8 or 15.5 years, depending on the type of carpet. If your carpet is old, it may be worth close to nothing! In this event you should not have to pay for new carpet.

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