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Do apartments have to paint walls and replace carpets by law before new tenants move in or can they charge you before move out?

Willowbrook, IL |

Ive lived in my apartment for two years and my lanlord wants to charge me for normal wear and tare to paint walls and replace carpet. I have a non refundable pet deposit and they want to keep my security deposit. They said my pet and children are the reasons to replace the carpet and paint the walls. Isn't that the reason for a non refundable pet deposit? Don't they have to paint walls before a new tenant moves in? There aren't any holes in the wall nor did I paint the walls different colors, they are still white.

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Attorney answers 2


To rent, apartment owners do not have to paint walls and replace carpets by law before new tenants move in. To rent, the apartment must be habitable by law.

Pet urine and pet markings on walls and floors can make an apartment uninhabitable due to smell, sticky odor residue and general health reasons. So, it is usual for such damage to be taken care of after the tenant moves out and before the new tenant moves in.


The real problem here is that you don't have a check-in or check-out punchlist that you and your landlord signed. A pet deposit is one thing. But simply having children and pets per se is no reason to replace carpeting after 2 years -- a good shampooing should be enough depending on the kind of pooch and whether the kids spilled a lot of things assuming there are no poop .... stains and smells and yes that's what the deposit should be for. Painting? Every place needs a touch-up too. But some landlords are pickier than others.

But the real problem is, even assuming you're 100% right, all you can do at this point is fight about it and that will probably cost you more time, effort and money to do so, or you can remember in the future to have the place checked out when you move in and leave, do some touch-up yourself (take pictures), keep receipts.... better you control the move-out costs (you can even work with the landlord at the end to apply the pet deposit toward a good shampooing if the landlord is reasonable -- maybe a big assumption) than the landlord. If a landlord won't do a check-in punchlist, make sure you do a fairly good inspection as soon as possible after move-in and notify the landlord asap (in kind tones.....). And while check-in/out documentation isn't a guaranty, at least it gives the landlord something to think about before redecorating on your dime....

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is currently licensed to practice law actively only in the State of Illinois, inactively in Florida. Responses are based solely on Illinois law unless stated otherwise.