Carpeting Costs Published Jan. 26, 2007 By Brig. Gen. Robert P. Steel 48th Fighter Wing Commander ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- QUESTION: I am concerned the inspectors for base housing are charging people undue amounts of money for carpeting. I live in the Lords Walk area on RAF Lakenheath and my previous neighbors had to pay between £500 - £1500 for replacement of carpet. Both individuals were E-5 and below. I have heard of many others with similar stories. Who has that kind of extra money when they are PCSing or separating which was the case with one of my neighbors? I can understand if they deliberately destroyed the carpet but we are talking about normal wear and tear with a household of three children. I believe there needs to be a military quality inspector accompany the housing inspectors so this is done in a more realistic manor. There needs to at least be a waiver for those that this would cause significant financial harm to. The Lords Walk homes are definitely substandard and are in desperate need of renovation, however this should not be done at the expense of military members. Another point I want to make about this is that the carpet in the housing area that I live in is very poor quality to start with. Every time I vacuum most of my bagless vacuum canister is filled with carpet fibers. So if a member is charged with replacing the carpet how do they know that this carpet actually cost as much as they are being charged and that the carpet is actually being replaced? ANSWER: I reviewed our carpet replacement policy and concluded it is fair, consistent and in accordance with AFI 32-6001 and DOD 4165.63M. Carpet in Military Family Housing is replaced every seven years unless certified as worn out or damaged beyond repair. When terminating quarters, if carpet is identified as permanently damaged through negligence, accidental or deliberate acts, the resident is charged for the premature replacement of that carpet. Examples of common damage include, but are not limited to, stains from kool aid, pet urine, wine, tea, coffee and milk formula; scratched, chewed or ripped areas caused by a pet; and burn holes. As carpet cannot be repaired by patching, the only option is to replace the carpet up to the carpet seam. Residents are briefed they can request a report of survey if they feel the assessment is unfair. Unfortunately, the cost of carpet replacement is high, but the cost is depreciated using a seven year lifecycle. Other than normal wear and tear, carpet is replaced between residents when it meets the seven year criteria at no cost to the resident. Some types of carpet may produce fibers for at least 12 months after installation, similar to lint from clothes which collect in a dryer filter. In cases of excessive lint still being present after this period, the Housing Office would request an appointment with the occupant to inspect the carpet in case it is faulty. If a fault is identified, the Housing Office would then address the issue with the maintenance provider. During the initial inspection of quarters, residents are briefed on the current condition of the carpet, potential cost of replacement and ways to prevent accidental damage and stains. Residents are also briefed on the advantage of renters insurance, as most policies cover such costs, minus the deductible.