Exit carpet clean

Question from Marama updated on 16th October 2014:

Hi, our landlord has asked us to have the carpet cleaned. They've requested it be professionally cleaned, but according to www.dbh.govt.nz/breaches-of-rta it's a breach of the Residential Tenancies Act. Is this accurate? Would we be within our rights to use something such as a Rug Doctor instead of a professional cleaner? The cleaner would be much more expensive and we are on a limited budget.

Our expert Alan Bruce responded:

The Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (the Act) outlines a tenant's obligations at the end of the tenancy, which requires tenants to leave the premises in a reasonably clean and tidy condition. There is also a requirement to remedy any careless or intentional damage to the carpets, such as stains, that the tenants have caused. If the tenants have left the property, including the carpet, in a reasonably clean and tidy condition, then to require them to have the carpet professionally cleaned may be to hold the tenants to a higher standard than is required by the law and may not be permitted by the Tenancy Tribunal. Similarly, provisions in a tenancy agreement that are inconsistent with the Act are generally unenforceable. When the tenants fail to leave the property reasonably clean and tidy at the end of the tenancy, the landlord may seek to recover reasonable costs incurred to return the property to a reasonable standard. If you are unable to reach an agreement with the landlord regarding the condition of the property and the carpet at the end of the tenancy, either party could apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to have the matter resolved. If you have any further questions regarding your obligations at the end of your tenancy agreement, you can visit our website (www.tenancy.govt.nz), or you can speak to a member of our Tenancy Advice team by calling 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262), between 8.00am-5.30pm Monday to Friday.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.

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