The house was cleaned by landlord (my husband and I) prior to move in. When the tenants moved out, the house was dirty and we cleaned it and charged the tenant; Labor cost 2 people 7 hours, plus supplies $200.00. The carpets where cleaned professionally, cost $150.00.
The Tenants says that after 2.5 years the Landlord is responsible for carpet cleaning. Tenants say that the house cleaning can only be charged when a professional cleaning crew cleans the house, plus the fee was above and beyond a normal cleaning bid. Any answer would be appreciated.
PS:We ask them to do clean the carpet because they had a cat. In the move out letter the Tenant wrote that they will have the carpets cleaned.
The general rule is that a landlord is responsible for the normal wear and tear, which is typically 5-8 years for carpet. If the carpet is 8 years old, the current value is probably zero and the landlord would bear the cost. If it's new carpet and the tenant made it incredibly dirty or left burn marks, then it would be proper to place the costs on them. The "2.5 years" answer that the tenants give may be some aspect of Michigan law, I am not licensed there and can't speculate, which is why it pays to go to a locally licensed attorney.
The issue of the particular cost is going to come down to a number of specific facts, such as the size of the house, the thoroughness of the cleaning, whether it is furnished, how much is carpeted, etc. It might be worth it to check with some local cleaning services to get a quote for time and cost to see how reasonable your estimate is. If it ever went to court (which, for $350, seems unlikely), it'd be your word against theirs, bolstered by any receipts for supplies, pictures you took, or other evidence.
Regardless, in this case you have used the security deposit to handle it, so it will rest on the tenant to sue you for reimbursement. Just make sure you follow all applicable laws about disclosing the withholding from the deposit and returning the deposit in a timely manner.
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