We're currently in the market for a new apartment, and just so happened to find one close to my wife's job. We checked out the place, and everything seems fine except the carpet is really old. I asked the property manager how old the carpet was, and she couldn't even tell me. She said that it had been professionally cleaned though, and so she wasn't going to change it before we move in. We haven't signed the lease yet, but my main concern is that we don't get charged for the full replacement of it once we decide to move out. What should I do in this particular situation?
Manager's reluctance to replace old carpet is a signal - so you may want to consider looking for a different place. If you do proceed, put language in the lease that states the carpet is as old as the hills, and that tenant will not be charged for repairs or replacement.
If manage won't put in that language, you don't want to be in relationship with this owner/manager.
That's all you can do on the front end of the lease. There are rules about replacement that would come into play when you move out, if landlord dings your deposit over the old rug.
Always take pictures and notes when you move in, and you should also make a note on the inventory checklist that you requested replacement of ancient carpet, and owner declined.
I agree with Mr. Moss' good advice, but also suggest another alternative - see if the landlord will give you either a longer term lease, or an option to renew/extend, if you put in new carpeting. You'll end up with a nicer place, and will get the benefit of your improvement via a longer lease (at the same rent, or perhaps annual increases limited to the CPI - it is all negotiatble).
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