Renting

Carpet cleaning and pest control

At the end of a tenancy the tenant must leave the property in the same condition it was in at the start of the tenancy, apart from fair wear and tear.

Carpet cleaning

If the carpets were cleaned to a certain standard at the start of the tenancy, the tenant must ensure the carpets are cleaned to that same standard at the end of the tenancy.

However, the property manager/owner cannot require the tenant to:

  • leave the property in a better condition than it was in at the start of the tenancy (e.g. require carpets to be steam cleaned when this wasn’t done before they moved in)
  • purchase goods or services (e.g. a carpet cleaning service)
  • use a specific carpet cleaning service
  • pay a set fee for carpet cleaning

These are offences under the Act.

Whether or not it is appropriate for a special term to be included about professional carpet cleaning/pest control at the end of a tenancy depends on the particular case and circumstances.

For example, in March 2018, the RTA successfully prosecuted a property management agency for breaches of the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (RTRA Act) including unlawful conditions in tenancy agreements that required tenants to have carpets and curtains professionally cleaned at the end of a tenancy. A penalty of $6,000 was handed down with an additional $2,500 for unlawfully entering a tenant’s home.

In 2019, a QCAT appeal case found that where a tenanted property had been fumigated and the carpets professionally cleaned at the start of the tenancy, a special term in the tenancy agreement requiring the tenant to have the carpets professionally cleaned at the end of the tenancy and the premises fumigated by a professional fumigator was enforceable, as it was considered essential to the tenant returning the property to the same condition. In this instance, the tenant had kept four inside dogs and a budgie at the property, and had attempted to undertake their own carpet cleaning and fumigation treatment.

In this case, QCAT considered the special conditions amplified, but did not intend to modify the terms of the RTRA Act and General Tenancy Agreement.

The Magistrate noted, however, that the position may be different had the carpets not been professionally cleaned at the start of the tenancy, as a tenant is only required to leave the premises, as far as possible, in the same condition that it was in at the start of the tenancy, fair wear and tear excepted.

Pest control

If the property was free of pests at the start of the tenancy the tenant must ensure the property meets that same standard at the end of the tenancy.

However, the property manager/owner cannot require the tenant to:

  • leave the property in a better condition than it was in at the start of the tenancy (e.g. require pest control when the property had pests when they moved in, or require professional pest control if this was not done at the start)
  • use a specific pest control service
  • pay a set fee for a pest control service
  • use a particular pest control product

These are offences under the Act.