Legal Question in Landlord & Tenant Law in Washington

washington state carpet law. I have a question reguarding replacing carpet. I lved at this place for 2years and when Imoved in the carpet was at least 1 year old and wasn't in perfect condition. I got a dog and there was a couple stains plus normal wear and she chewed about a one inch spot of carpet in the corner of a sliding glass door. This was all in the lving room so Iunderstand if carpet has to be replaced there but they want to charge me 1270 dollars to replace all the carpet. I feel like they just want to pin it on me to change all the carpet. They didn't even try to shampoo the carpet which I know from experience takes stains out of the carpet. What are my options? Can Ifight this?

Asked on 2/16/13, 9:25 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Amir John Showrai The Pacific Law Firm, PLLC
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You can try to fight it, and I'm assuming for the purpose of this answer that you have already moved out and received an accounting of the various charges from your security deposit that your landlord wishes to keep, and perhaps a bill for anything in excess of the security deposit to cover what the landlord claims are your damages.

The law provides that except for "normal wear and tear", you are responsible for damages. What your dog did is not something that in my experience most judges would consider to be "normal wear and tear." Normal wear and tear on carpet would be things like the carpet becoming discolored over the years, or the carpet fiber not feeling very new or fresh just based on being walked over by many people over a long duration. On the other hand, a dog biting or tearing the carpet is not normal wear and tear that the carpet was designed to go through.

Your point about replacing the carpet in the entire unit versus just the living room alone is a good one. While I think you have a decent shot at limiting the damage to just the living room carpet replacement, I'm not sure if this is worth going through the trouble. If the difference in price between the living room and the entire unit is $200, considering you would necessarily have to go to small claims court and take time off work, not to mention the emotional stress of dealing with the situation—at the end of the day, it might not be worth fighting.

On the other hand, if the difference in price between carpeting just the living room versus the entire unit is worth the fight to you financially speaking, then I think you can pursue it. I think you stand a decent chance of getting a judge to agree with you, and not require you to pay for more than just replacing the carpet in the living room.

I should say that a lot of this will come down to photographic documentation of the condition of the carpet at the time you moved in versus the time you moved out. Hopefully you took photographs at both times or have access to such photography. If you don't think you do, look through your photo albums and see if you have any photos of the carpet in the background of let's say a picture of your friends in your living room. If those pictures can be chronologically documented, such as your 25th birthday, then that makes them all the more powerful in terms of proving the condition of the carpet in the past at specific times, versus at the time you moved out.

I hope this at least gets you pointed in the right direction and I wish you the best of luck.

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2/16/13, 10:26 am

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