Do Ii need to put new carpet in for this Tenant?

I just had a guy sign a lease last week to move into one of my units on Sept 1st. When he saw it there was horrible mint green and pale orange wall color, and very dirty carpet in the living room. We advised him that we were painting everything white and he asked if we would be willing to do cream with the white trim as it would look a bit better. So we said ok. I told him that if the carpet didn’t come clean we would replace it and make sure it was nice. …

I could not get the carpet to look good so we pulled it up and were happy to find beautiful hardwood in very good shape underneath. so we are leaving it hardwood… now this guy is mad at me and said he does not like wood floors and he likes nice comfy place to relax on the floor if he wants to and that he saw an apartment with carpet and expects to get one with carpet… he kept telling me that I promised new carpet, I told him that is before I new the floor was perfect underneath and the the reason I promised him that was to make sure he new he would have something clean and liveable… Am I obligated to carpet this place?

right now I feel he is just being nitpicky and tryiing to esablish who is in charge , so I’m not really wanting to give in. Thanks for any iinput.

You DID say that you’ll give him carpet, right??

You have to realize that as a LANDLORD, you are in the CUSTOMER SERVICE business, and if you say he’ll get carpets, that’s what he out to get.

I’m funny this way myself. I go to an Italian restaurant for scubgilli. Sometimes they’re out, and sometimes, they can’t get it. When I have a hankering for scungilli, and I got there for it, they’re not going to convince me their “catch of the day” is just as good or better. I didn’t go there for the “catch of the day”.

Often, I*'m lazy, and say “OK, give me what you got”, and I go home angry, and figured I wasted my money, and then have to go again for the scungilli the next day, but calling first.

I once ate at a restaurant where they didn’t have what I wanted, sat with the family and had dessert, then dropped them home, and went by myself to another place to order what I wanted.

Do you think you can convince me to take wood floors instead of carpeting, afer you told me I get carpeting??

If you order a blue car with a certain stereo system you particularly liked, are you going to take delivery of another because the salesman said it’s better.

I treat tenants that way. If I said the place comes with carpeting, it comes with carpeting. And if I was the tenant, took the place without it anyway, anytime something about the floor annoys me, I get angry thinking I was so stupid talked into something.

Above all, I never trust anyone promising one thing, delivering another after. I always portray myself as a man of my word.

It was not something that he ever mentioned specifically about needing carpet… he just was worried that he would have to walk on something yucky and he seemed very concerned about having a nice clean floor. He never once mentioned that he wanted only carpet vs wood… there is wood floor in most of the rest of the place. I never once thought it was a deal breaker if it turned out to be nice wood underneath… It was a happy suprise and most people I know actually prefer the wood. I also feel it was waaaaaay more sanitary that carpet since that seemed to be what his main concern is. He just seems to be gettng more demanding over all sorts of little details and I’m more affraid of setting the tone of him getting whatever he wants and he is in charge. I have had that happen before and don’t want to go there again. I am renting him a very nice looking and very clean place. If he wants perfection in the decorating sense then I feel he can buy his own place!

But if enough people share Franks opinion then I will cave in and put new carpeting in and probably end up just needing to tear it out again for the next person.

ps… he also gave the the classic “I can gaurantee you that this place will look better when I move out than when I move in”…

either put in new carpet or let the guy out of the lease. you’re on the legal “short end” of the stick, but even that aside, you starting out the business relationship on the wrong foot with this guy. it will be nothing but trouble.

have you tried to discuss about using large area rugs as a compromise?

Red flags all over the place! If this guy is this snitty and demanding now - just wait and see how it will get worse.
Let him out of the lease since the property is not up to snuff for him. You don’t want to cave in to a tenant, as they will keep pushing you on other issues to see how far they can go.

If it ain’t in writing…it ain’t.


nothing in his lease agreement was in writng about this carpet issue. In fact it was to be up to me to decide if I thought the old carpet was clean enough after shampooing it. He was just concerned with CLEAN!! It is only now that he is so determined to have wall to wall carpeting. I even offered to buy a very nice rug from Lowes that is very soft and comfey. Its called the “wooly bully” and its just under 300 for an 8 by 11 foot room rug. I have one in my kids playroom and its is fabulous… He was not even satisfied by that. He wants his TV and couch to also be sitting on the nice comfy rug and nothing will satisfy him. He came to my house just now and confronted me about it and really tried to bully me. I’m going to give him his deposite back and send him on his way. I’m usually very customer service minded, in fact had already bent over backwards on others issues to make him happy and feel that he is just never going to stop with his demands. I just don’t need that, there are others out there that will think the wood floor is just fine.

Your word is your bond. If your word is meaningless on this issue, why should the tenant believe anything you say. If you told him you would put in carpet, then put in carpet. Carpet is cheap, 55 cents per square foot at Lowes.


You stated in your post that you told him that you would do it.

Word is bond…

Not to pick on you, but I think you made a few mistakes.

  • There could be a misunderstanding here particularly if the place is “already carpeted”. For some tenants, walt to wall carpeting is a must, for others, wooden floors is a must. You just can’t sell wooden floors to someone picturing himself in a “wall to wall” carpeted place. I go thru this enough times in the last 25 years.

  • That’s why I prefer to rent or sell a place where “what you see is what you get”. When I tell tenants the place is going to be re-carpeted, I get a swab of the new carpet to show the color, else the tenant is going to come by and tell me he didn’t expect carpets so dark, or so light, whatever. How do I know this?? I showed some guy a swab of the new carpet once, and he wanted to know if it’s going to be the same thickness, and if the padding will be as soft.

  • I neve over promise. Once I had to get rid of window treatments that were shot, but haven’t gotten to it showing the place. I tell tenants that I’ll remove the old stuff, and when asked if it’ll be replaced, I reply that they cn get stuff cheap at Lowes. Once, I said all of this, I then went out and got nice “verticals”. For the tenant moving in, it was a nice surprise. I put window treatments in because different tenants putting them in, putting them in wrong, taking them out cost me more money in the long run.

  • I learned the hard way during my FIRST rental. A yound lady complained about safety for a first floor rental, and I said an alarm can take care of the problem. She asked if I’ll put one in, and I said I’ll evntually put one in. Came by to pay a deposit and asked when the alerm is going in. She didn’t hear the word “eventually”. I said I never promised one, she left the deposit but angry. We called her back to return the deposit, and rented to another lady that we made no promises to.

  • I took off old carpeting once, had nice wooden floors underneath, and rented it out that way. That lasted two years. Two young guys apparently liked to drag furniture around, so the floors were all gouged, and would have to be sanded, and refinished. I had wooden floors redone, and it’s costlier and more time consuming than covering them with cheap carpets, which is what I did. I wished I recarpeted the place in the first place. Beleive me!! I now see carpets as something that protects my nice wooden floors.

  • Some people, my wife in particular, gets very angry when they hear one thing, and then hear someone “flip flop”,backtrack, deny it, say it’s not in writng and would never beleive the guy again.

Mistake #1… Never promise anything to a tenant. They’ll remember it even if you don’t, and they’ll hang it over your head at any opportunity.

Mistake #2… The cost of you having a vacant property degrades your income much more than rent reduction or the cost of carpet. I’d just do the carpet on the basis that your tenant will pay you back for it with a lease extension.

Mistake #3… Whether you have or you don’t have, act like he is renting 1 of 100 units that you manage, and you don’t have the time to get this detailed into his lease. If you said you’d give him carpet, do that and move on. Your time and energy are worth too much to invest in something as petty as this.

But I can sure as hell tell you that he won’t extend your lease if he feels that you are not honoring your word. And that means you have to look forward to a vacant property, expensive advertising, etc.


Don’t ever let a tenant know were you live!! Use PO boxes to collect rents.

I second that. This is what we do. Also don’t ever give them a phone number that you either answer immediately or doesn’t have some form of call attendant system on it. The fact is that investing in an answering service that can control the time of day and day of week that you receive calls will also help you manage your portfolio like a business would.

Also I’ve now started the habit that if I have to meet a tenant to collect a rent payment, or sign new leases, etc. then I find the local McDonald’s near where they live and meet them there.


I agree with the PO Box, but I disagree with the phone. You will lose a lot of potential tenants if a real person doesn’t answer the phone. Tenants are very fickle. When they are looking for a property, they want it now. If a real person doesn’t answer, they won’t call back. Also, in my experience, I get VERY FEW calls from tenants after hours, and when they do call it is usually very important. Of course, I use my cell phone as my business phone. I would never give a tenant my home phone number!

I collect the rents at the tenant’s apartment or house. I do a quick walk through (safety inspection) of every unit every month to make sure things are in order.


We don’t use an answering service or just take a message. We have a fully professional ACD system on our phones. When the tenants call, they get a menu - “Press 1 if you are interested in any of our properties for rent”. Then it gives them the option to talk to a live person, or hear an overview of every property we currently have available.

This way if it is after hours, they get all the details on the properties to wet their whistle, but if they go to speak with us, it goes to voice mail. But during office hours when we are available, they get a live person.

Its worked out great. We put a property on it last Friday. By Saturday morning at 10AM it was completely rented. This is because a potential tenant who had to move immediately was able to call us from a ‘bandit sign’ that we placed in the neighborhood from their car at 8PM, got the details on the property available and the address. Then visited it first thing in the morning when the sun was up, then called it and spoke to us, filled out an application, was pre-approved and we showed it an hour later with a full lease in hand ready to go. The tenant paid the deposit, 1st month’s rent and signed the lease. All within 45 mins of their call.

Yes, a phone message system wouldn’t work. But at the same time, I probably wouldn’t have taken the call at 8PM with the details they wanted. Consequently the recorded description of each property played through the phone system does the trick better than any Internet advertising (which we do anyway). Its just that a prospective tenant with a cell phone in the car can’t see the Internet.



How much does a service like that cost?

Well I built mine with an old $100 Macintosh, a $20 Fax/Modem and some software called ‘PhonePro’. You can’t get the software anymore, but there’s probably an old copy of it on eBay or something like that. There are probably PC/Windows equivalent programs you could use if you had some time on your hands and the tendency to want to do something like that.

In the absence of that, there are plenty of 3rd party services on the Internet that do that sort of thing for you. They give you a 1-800 number and you set up the menus, audio for the recordings, etc. and they transfer the call to whatever number you elect for it. They normally charge between $20-50 a month for something like that. I don’t know of any in particular, but if you do a Google search for ‘Telephone ACD’ or ‘Call Attendant’ or something like that, you’ll get a bunch.


I think I should clear a few things up.

First… I really never wanted our tenants to know where we live. We got a PO box just for that reason, but MN law requires you to provide a physical address so that if tenants needed to they could serve you with court papers ect. So on our lease we do have to disclose a physical address where they can reach us. Second… This property is across the street. My tenants would figure it out anyway.

The reason I was so mad about the carpet is because it was not a specific issue until after we decided to leave the wood floors. If it had been the only issue with this guy I would have put carpet in , but he has nit picked every last stinking detail he could find and I thought it might never end. I had read other posts on here about tentans that just seem nuts and you are better off without them. I decided I just don’t have the patience for this guy so I gave him his deposite back. The very next day I was able to do all my screening checks on other potentials that thought the place was perfect as is and I have a new lease signed with no loss of time.

But I have learned to never let them see it in progress. I will only show from now on when it is in “as is” condition.

SAHM Investor,

I’m glad it worked out well in the end for this incident, however the case was based upon you telling the potential tenant that you WOULD put in new carpet. Just don’t make promises you don’t intend on fulfilling.