While the code doesn't precisely define "normal wear and tear," most Small Claims Court judges have decided that when it comes to carpet, drapes and painting, it's three years. However, that applies to replacing carpets and drapes and to repainting, not to cleaning or repairing any of them.
This "normal wear and tear" concept does not usually apply to cleaning, especially if the owner can prove that this expense was necessary after only five months. Thus, as for the carpet cleaning, you're probably out of luck, unless you sue and the owner cannot back up the expense with a receipt or, perhaps, unless the Stainshield wasn't previously used on the carpet. If you decide to sue, don't wait until June 30. June 29 is the deadline for filing your action.
Postema is the editor of Apartment Age Magazine, a publication of the Apartment Assn. of Greater Los Angeles, an apartment owners' service group. Mail your questions of any aspect of apartment living to "Rentformation," Apartment Assn. of Greater Los Angeles, 621 S. Westmoreland Ave., Los Angeles, Calif. 90005-3995.