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Rental contracts requiring exiting tenants to clean carpets are legal

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MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) - So, if you’re moving out of an apartment, can you be required to pay for carpet cleaning costs? That’s a question that required Wisconsin’s Attorney General to issue an official opinion Tuesday. 

J.B. Van Hollen issued an opinion to Secretary Ben Brancel at the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. That ruling is in favor of the landlords, as Van Hollen concluded that Wisconsin law does not prohibit residential lease provisions that require a departing tenant to pay for routine carpet cleaning.

Van Hollen determined that such a provision is not in conflict with a landlord’s statutory duty to maintain the premises “in a reasonable state of repair.” Van Hollen says routine carpet cleaning is not a statutorily-imposed obligation of a landlord, so assigning this responsibility to a tenant through a contractual provision does not void a rental agreement.

A copy of the Attorney General's opinion is available HERE.A copy of the opinion request is available HERE.The State Statute Attorney General Van Hollen refers to is: Wis. Stat. 704.07(2).

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