Is the landlord obliged to replace our carpets?

carpetThis is a question for the blog clinic from Jeannie who is a tenant:

I moved into a flat 6 months ago. There were numerous problems to deal with initially, mostly the fault of the Estate Agent. They included, but are not limited to, not having hot water for six weeks, not being given the correct keys and furniture that had been present when we signed-up for the flat not being present.

As a result we did not raise the issue of the threadbare and stained bedroom carpets until recently, although we did comment on their state on the inventory, which the landlady doesn’t seem to have seen. The rest of the two bed, 7 year old flat is of a high standard but for £1325 per month, I don’t think we should have to suffer threadbare carpets.

To replace the carpets would cost about £500 for two small rooms. The inventory described the carpets as worn and stained. The landlady did not look at them between the previous tenants and us but we know that the previous tenants had them cleaned but they said that this made no impact on their condition. The landlady is refusing to come and look at the carpets and is saying she cannot afford to replace them. I have sent photos illustrating the state of them but she will not admit that they are not of the same standard as the rest of the flat.

Do we have any right to insist that she replace them or that she come round?

I am afraid not.  When you sign up for a property you have to take it as it is.  There are certain repairing obligations landlords have, for example regarding the  structure and exterior of the property,  electrical wiring, gas appliances and the like, but this does not include the condition of the carpets.

The condition of the carpets may be unsatisfactory but unless they are actually dangerous (e.g. if they are torn and likely to cause an accident) there is not much you can do about it.  It is very important that all these things are raised before you sign the tenancy agreement.  Afterwards is too late.

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Carpet picture by itinerant tightwad

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10 Responses to Is the landlord obliged to replace our carpets?

  1. I agree Tessa but I think it is crucial to keep a record of this.
    In my experience the landlord’s attitude at this stage doesnt bode well. I would advise that Jeanie start backing everything up with a view to a probable challnege come deposit return time.

    I have seen hundreds of disputes in 22 years, you have to pay attention to early warning signs

  2. Sorry to double post but I just popped to the corner shop for a loaf and it was on my mind.

    A professional, portfolio lanldord wouldnt quibble about something like this, and they wouldnt let a property where the carpets were described in the inventory as ‘Worn and stained’.

    My TRO antenna gets tweaked by this. It doesnt smell right. Jeannie? Make sure you keep all text messages, emails and letters, dont do anything that isnt recorded.

  3. Thanks for the comments. I’ve been keeping a record of everything – good advice though. The landlady runs everything past Ludlow Thompson before she responds to us. We were very clear that we did not want to live in an Estate Agent managed property and given the problems we had with them at move in, this adds to the frustration.

  4. Sorry Jeannie, Tenancy Relations Officer. we work for local councils investigating allegations of harassment and illegal eviction and prosecuting landlords and agents when they breach the laws.

    If you havent taken pictures of the carpets it might be wise and a quick email to Ludlow Thompson to record your concerns

  5. Sorry to pour a bit of damp water on this Jeanie but if you look through your tenancy agreement I’ll be amazed if you don’t find a tenant obligation saying you have to report any problems as soon as they arrive – like the shower not working or a ring going on the cooker etc.

    I fear you are lost by your comment about not doing anything for 6 months. The objective inpartial view on that woulkd be “well it can’t have been that bad then in the first place”.

    Not what I am saying and I wish you the best of luck with it and Ben is right about what may happen come tenancy deposit return time.but I’ll bet it is what the agent and landlord say. I fear you may have timed yourself out on this one if nothing was flagged up for 6 months.

  6. We flagged on the inventory within days of moving in that the carpet looked like it had not been cleaned or hoovered. The inventory makers themselves also recorded that it was worn. We have only recently discovered that the landlady does not have a copy of our inventory, although she said in July that she did have one. We had so many issues to deal with when we moved in that the carpet, although shoddy, was the least of our worries, in comparison to not having hot water or two sets of keys. After the summer I was off-sick for two months so was unable to raise a complaint about anything.

  7. When it comes to carpets that are grubby and squashed-looking a good scrub with a stiff brush and some hot water and detergent (ie soap powder) can work pretty well. Better than a cheap rented carpet shampooer thingy, anyway.

  8. OK two further comments

    Jeanie I still think unfortunately the time delay here is not going to help you. I am sympathetic to your cause, you needed to agitate more sooner but clearly had other problems which I hope are now resolved.

    The keys issue interests me greatly. I have just had this raised by one of my clients where a corporate client instructing him was not prepared to pay to cut a second set of keys for joint tenants. My position was that all of joint tenants were entitled legally to access and so had to be provided with the means – a set of keys each.

    Learned advice I took reminded me that at Law and in the agreement the TENANT is just that – singular. So providing one set, whilst not best practice and probably bound to lead to problems, discharges the Landlord’s obligation. I mention this only so you focus your fire power on battles you can win!

    Chris B I could not disagree with you more. The Rug Doctor hired from our local Waitrose with appropriate liquid performs absolute wonders, but it is that level of machine and power that you need, not some Bex Bissell master etc.

    Having said that there is always the danger of sucking the pile out of a knackered carpet!! And if threadbare and beyond life then no amount of cleaning, even professional, will put pile back on a carpet!!




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About the post author:

Tessa Shepperson

Tessa is a lawyer specialising in residential landlord and tenant law. She runs the Landlord Law website (now in its 12th year) and is a director of Easy Law Training Ltd and Your Law Store. Tessa also sits on the Property Redress Scheme Council. When not working she enjoys reading, cooking and messing around on the computer. You can also find her on Google



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Tessa is an English lawyer specialising in residential landlord and tenant law.


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