Can Landlord Charge for Carpet Cleaning in California

In California, landlords are permitted to charge tenants for carpet cleaning under certain circumstances. The law allows landlords to charge for the cleaning of carpets at the end of a tenancy if it is specified in the lease agreement and if the charges are reasonable. However, landlords cannot charge for carpet cleaning more often than once a year unless the lease agreement specifies otherwise. Additionally, landlords must provide tenants with a written notice of the carpet cleaning charges at least 30 days before the cleaning is scheduled to take place. If a landlord fails to comply with these requirements, they may be prohibited from charging tenants for carpet cleaning.

Impact on Security Deposit

In California, landlords are generally allowed to charge tenants for carpet cleaning upon move-out, as long as they adhere to specific guidelines. These guidelines are designed to protect both landlords and tenants and ensure that charges are reasonable and necessary.

Landlords are permitted to deduct cleaning costs from the security deposit, provided that the charges are:

  • Reasonable and customary: The charges should be in line with what other landlords charge for similar services in the area.
  • Necessary: The cleaning must be necessary to restore the carpet to its original condition, considering normal wear and tear.
  • Documented: Landlords must provide tenants with an itemized statement detailing the cleaning costs, including receipts for the services rendered.
Carpet Cleaning ChargesReasonable and CustomaryNecessaryDocumented
Professional carpet cleaningYesYesYes
Steam cleaningYesYesYes
DeodorizingYesIf the carpet has unpleasant odorsYes
Stain removalYesIf the carpet has stainsYes

Carpet Cleaning Standards and Frequency in California

In California, landlords are generally responsible for maintaining the cleanliness and safety of their rental properties, including the carpets. However, there are specific rules and regulations that govern the frequency and standards of carpet cleaning. These regulations vary depending on the city or county in which the property is located. Understanding these regulations is essential for both landlords and tenants to ensure a healthy and comfortable living environment.

Cleaning Standards:

  • Professional Carpet Cleaning: Landlords are responsible for providing professional carpet cleaning services to their tenants. This typically involves using specialized equipment and cleaning solutions to remove dirt, stains, and allergens from the carpet.
  • Frequency of Cleaning: The frequency of carpet cleaning depends on the specific lease agreement and local regulations. In general, carpets should be cleaned at least once a year, or more frequently if necessary due to excessive wear and tear.
  • Pre-Inspections: Before cleaning the carpets, landlords or their cleaning contractors should conduct a pre-inspection to identify any existing stains, damage, or wear and tear. This helps ensure that the cleaning process is effective and that any potential issues can be addressed promptly.
  • Post-Cleaning Inspection: After the carpets have been cleaned, a post-cleaning inspection should be conducted to ensure that the cleaning was done properly and that the carpets are in good condition.

Responsibility for Cleaning Costs:

In California, the responsibility for carpet cleaning costs is generally divided between landlords and tenants. Here’s how the costs are typically shared:

ResponsibilityCosts Covered
  • Professional carpet cleaning services
  • Pre-cleaning and post-cleaning inspections
  • Damage to the carpet caused by negligence or misuse
  • Excessive wear and tear beyond normal use
  • Additional cleaning if required due to the tenant’s actions

Note: The specific terms and conditions regarding carpet cleaning costs may vary based on the lease agreement and local regulations.

Communication and Documentation:

  • Open Communication: Landlords and tenants should maintain open communication throughout the carpet cleaning process. This includes discussing the cleaning schedule, expectations, and any concerns.
  • Written Notice: Landlords should provide tenants with written notice of any upcoming carpet cleaning services, including the date, time, and any specific instructions.
  • Documentation: Landlords should keep records of all carpet cleaning services, including invoices, inspection reports, and any correspondence with tenants.

By following these standards and guidelines, landlords and tenants can ensure that carpet cleaning is done properly, and that the costs are shared fairly. This helps create a clean and healthy living environment for both parties.

Wear and Tear vs. Damage

In California, landlords are responsible for keeping their rental properties in a habitable condition, while tenants are responsible for taking care of the premises. This includes keeping the property clean and making minor repairs. However, there is a difference between normal wear and tear and damage. If a carpet is damaged, the landlord can charge the tenant for the cost of cleaning or replacing it. However, the landlord cannot charge the tenant for normal wear and tear.

Wear and Tear:

  • Normal wear and tear is expected and inevitable.
  • Landlords cannot charge tenants for normal wear and tear.
  • Examples include fading, matting, and light stains.


  • Damage is caused by a tenant’s negligence or intentional actions.
  • Landlords can charge tenants for the cost of repairing or replacing damaged carpets.
  • Examples include stains, burns, holes, tears, and water damage.

The following table summarizes the key differences between wear and tear and damage:

CharacteristicWear and TearDamage
DefinitionNormal, expected deterioration of a carpetAbnormal deterioration of a carpet caused by a tenant’s negligence or intentional actions
ExamplesFading, matting, light stainsStains, burns, holes, tears, water damage
LiabilityLandlord cannot charge tenantLandlord can charge tenant

Ultimately, whether a carpet is considered damaged or simply worn out is a judgment call that must be made on a case-by-case basis.

Landlord’s Right to Charge for Carpet Cleaning

In California, landlords are permitted to charge tenants for carpet cleaning after they move out. However, landlords must follow specific regulations when doing so. Here’s what you need to know about landlords’ rights to charge for carpet cleaning in California:

Landlord-Tenant Agreement:

The landlord and tenant should agree upon the carpet cleaning charges in advance. This can be done through a written lease agreement or an addendum to the lease. The agreement should specify the following:

  • The amount of the carpet cleaning fee
  • When the carpet cleaning fee will be charged
  • The method of payment
  • Any other relevant terms and conditions

Cleaning Standards:

Landlords are responsible for ensuring the carpets are clean when a tenant moves in. They must also provide the tenant with a copy of the carpet cleaning standards before the tenant moves out. These standards should be reasonable and consistent with industry standards.

Types of Charges:

Landlords can charge tenants for the following types of carpet cleaning:

  • Routine cleaning: This is a basic cleaning that is performed on a regular basis, such as every six months or once a year.
  • Deep cleaning: This is a more intensive cleaning that is performed when the carpets are heavily soiled or stained.
  • Repair or replacement: If the carpets are damaged beyond repair, the landlord can charge the tenant for the cost of repairing or replacing them.

Deductions from Security Deposit:

Landlords can deduct carpet cleaning charges from the tenant’s security deposit if the charges are authorized under the lease agreement. However, the landlord must provide the tenant with a written statement detailing the charges and the reasons for the deductions.

Small Claims Court:

If a tenant believes that the landlord has charged them unfairly for carpet cleaning, they can file a claim in small claims court. The tenant will need to provide evidence to support their claim, such as a copy of the lease agreement, the carpet cleaning standards, and receipts for any cleaning services they paid for.

Summary Table: Landlord’s Right to Charge for Carpet Cleaning in California
AspectKey Points
Landlord-Tenant Agreement
  • Specify cleaning fees, timing, payment method, and terms.
Cleaning Standards
  • Landlord provides standards before move-out.
  • Standards must be reasonable and industry-aligned.
Types of Charges
  • Routine cleaning.
  • Deep cleaning.
  • Repair/replacement.
Deductions from Security Deposit
  • Authorized under lease agreement.
  • Landlord provides written statement with details.
Small Claims Court
  • Tenant can challenge unfair charges.
  • Evidence required to support claim.

There you have it, folks! It’s a wrap on the topic of whether landlords can charge for carpet cleaning in California. I hope this article has answered all your burning questions and eased your mind. Let’s face it, moving can be a stressful process, and the last thing you need is more drama with your landlord over carpet cleaning fees. But now, armed with this knowledge, you can confidently navigate the waters of California’s tenant-landlord laws. So, until next time, remember to stay informed, ask questions, and always read those lease agreements thoroughly. Keep an eye out for more informative articles coming your way. Thanks for reading, and see you soon!