Wintertime brings cold weather and its sometimes unpleasant side effects of ice and snow. When it stays outside, it’s only problematic when trying to get from one place to another. Really, though, there is no way around the fact that snow, ice, and dirt will travel from the sidewalk into the house on people’s shoes, which makes keeping carpets clean and undamaged difficult.
As a rental owner, you’ll want the carpets in your property to stay nice so that you can continue letting out the place when current tenants leave. Keeping tabs on the rental can be a little hard to do, because you don’t live there. What you can do is encourage renters to be mindful of their part in keeping the rental unit clean, including the carpets. Some owners start on day one, when the renter reads and signs the contract: information regarding cleanliness and expectations should be states up front. Contracts can even state consequences for damage, including the effect of water and dirt on carpet. Be up front and honest about your expectations; good renters will accept the terms and take care of the property.
To prevent damage before it begins, send a memo out to tenants when the weather gets cold. A short notice reminding renters of their contract obligations regarding care of the property and encouragement to keep water and dirt away from the carpet could be helpful. You’re not telling them what to do or how to live; you’re giving them suggestions about how best to make their home nice to stay in. Encouraging renters to remove their shoes when entering the rental space, or laying out doormats so people can wipe their feet when they get home, are simple things that will prevent problems in the future. Restating contract agreements will also help, because if there were things agreed upon at the beginning, renters should live up to their end of the deal or expect to repay you according to the contract.
If carpet damage has occurred, refer first to the contract terms and see what is required of you and your renters. Legally, you cannot fine or expect payment for damage if it is not stated explicitly in the contract, so keep this in mind before you give someone a lease. If these are in place, fines can be given to the tenant, or you can require them to get the carpets cleaned. Remember, though, that damage for accidents, such as flooding or other circumstances are your responsibility as the property owner. Again, make sure that the contract is clear and precise, and never hesitate to communicate with renters about how to best care for the property. Establish expectations and a relationship early on, and most likely you won’t run into problems later.