Final tip (for now). As always, feel free to ask me any questions or anything else. I’m always down for providing tips.
How I learned to stop worrying and love the Carpet
This one is a shocker for a lot of people, but it’s the honest truth.
Your carpet WILL get dirty.
Did you catch that?
It WILL get stains. It WILL get torn up. If you have a pet that you claim “Oh we’ve had him for years and he hasn’t so much as tinkled on a carpet” and you’re bringing him to a new apartment, guess what? You WILL come home from work to find that Roofles got into the box of old pizza sitting on top of your trash can and has had the Spicy Sausage Squirts all over the carpet in circles like Fast and Furious 2: Dookyo Drift.
It happens. And what I always tell people is to come at carpet in a different way from the rest of the apartment. You aren’t trying to keep it from getting dirty. So many people spend all their time in their apartment worried about the damn carpet that they don’t even clean anywhere else. You can’t obsess over keeping your carpet clean that much. If you try to, it will eventually sneak out late at night to go to a warehouse rave and come home two days later with a gross tattoo and introduce you to it’s new boyfriend, Chopper. Just let it go. Let it be the carpet it was meant to be.
So, what’s important to take away from this is knowing what having a dirty carpet means for you. Prepare for the worst, and hope for the best. Here are a few quick carpet tips:
- Know what your apartment office’s policy is on carpet replacement. Carpet typically has a standard life span, which is usually about 7 years in 1 and 2 bedroom apartments and 5 years in anything larger. Thus, most offices waive out cleaning fees for carpet if the carpet is aged out. Keep in mind if your apartment belongs to a company that charges standardized ReDec fees, this will not be the case. ReDec fees are fees charged to anyone and everyone, regardless of condition. Basically, this means that Joseph Anal Guy over here who meticulously spent weeks cleaning his apartment has to pay a fee to move-out which ultimately goes to pay for Richard Dirty Underpants over here who was like “Oh snap, I move out today,” brushed some cheeto dust off his rented couch, grabbed a trashbag of clothes, and left forever. Granted, if people have extreme cleaning or damage issues, those get charged separately, but it is still kind of a bum setup that a lot of larger apartment companies utilize. Anyway, this is why knowing your apartment’s policies is important. If they don’t do the ReDec fee scam, then having an older carpet could result in no fees regardless of any extreme stainage. Before signing a lease, ask yourself if brand or like new carpet is important to you. If not, ask your office what their policy is on carpet replacements and yada yada. It might make them uncomfortable, but make sure you explain that you’re trying to see if you’d maybe like an apartment that is set to be replaced. You can actually even request to have an apartment that is set up to have a replacement the next year so you have no worries. This may not always work and it may limit your choices, but again, this is all to your preference. If you don’t get a carpet that is aged out, still don’t worry. There are more tips coming.
- NOTE: If you get an aged out carpet, you can still be charged if the stains or damage are ridiculous and beyond what is considered extreme wear and tear. For example, most property managers can tell the difference between “Oh, jinkies, I spilled my cranberry juice, gosh darn it!” and “Bro, get in here! We made a slip and slide out of jello, vodka and bologna!” or “Hello, I am a cat and I’ve been sent from hell to destroy everything you love.”
- Know what your apartment office’s policy is on cleaning. Some expect the carpets to be immaculate (mainly because they know they won’t and it’s free charges) and others just wrap the carpet into the standardized ReDec fees that they charge everyone. This will just generally help you be prepared for what may come. In addition, some cities and states actually require rental properties to clean the carpets every time someone moves out. This is true in Florida, and again that can effect how your office sees the cleaning process. For instance, the company I worked at required the resident to pay for cleaning even though it is required by law. What this meant though, from talking with other property managers and from my personal experience, is if someone took special care of their carpet or hardly used their apartment (which happens a lot in a college town with a large medical school), sometimes we may overlook the carpet charges. I’m not about to charge someone $70 because they have one hot sauce stain on the carpet near where their bed was (but I am going to have questions). Close to move out, just confirm what your office’s policies and procedures are for cleaning, which is something you should do every time regardless of your carpet woes. It’s always better to know what sort of inspections or expectations the landlord may have.
- If you have an area where there is not a table (i.e. living room, TV room, harem room), buy some cheapo end tables at Ikea. If you notice that small tables don’t help and peeps are still spilling in a particular area, head to Lowes/HomeDepot/Local Hardware or Carpet place and dish out money on a big ol’ rug. Let the rug take the fall and save your carpet the hassle. Keep in mind too that a darker colored rug will show considerably less stainage than the typically lighter carpet found in apartments.
- If you have friends (or fiances, Tee…) who keep spilling, buy them a sippy cup specifically for whenever they want to drink at your place. Sober them might be offended, but drunk them will find it friggin hilarious. Because, let’s be honest… they’re spilling because they’re wasted. Don’t lie, we’re all adults here… You drunk.
- Finally, if you have a pet that is damaging the carpet, OWN UP TO IT. This is more of a roommate drama issue, but say two roommates have pets. If one is peeing on the floor or tearing up the carpet, it is more than fine to let that roommate be responsible for any of the charges. Easiest thing to do is ask the office at move out to give you a specific run down of the reasoning behind the carpet charges. If they point out any torn up carpet or pee smell or whatever it might be, have them break out the average cleaning charge. Split that charge in half and have the roommate pay for the additional. Your pet, your problem.
- Scenario: Ben and Belanie have two pets. Ben has a cat named Beelzebub and Belanie has a dog named Roofles. They are in their apartment for two years. IN that two years, Beelzebub has taken to tearing up carpet in the corners of every room because “f*** you, I’m a cat.” One day about ¾ of the way into their time in the apartment, they came home from work to find that Roofles had basically exploded in the living room, spreading rings of half poop, half pizza crust, all evil. Safe to say, there were stains. At move out, the carpet has to be replaced due to damages and the brown Jackson Pollock work in the living room. Total prorated charges comes out to $500. They have the folks break down the charges per room and find that the living room comes to about $220, and the other two rooms come to about $140 each. Ben and Belanie agree that they will split the living room and Belanie’s room, since Beelzebub tore up carpet in there, and Ben would pay for his room. This means Belanie pays $180 and Ben pays $320. Belanie feels bad about the large difference and offers to pay $200 even, so Ben instead pays $300. Everyone is happy, except Beelzebub who was finally sent back to hell where he belongs with the help of Ed and Lorraine Warren.
So, these are my basic tips for eliminating certain charges at move-out time. Let me know if you’d like some other tips or have any specific questions.