Life Expectancy of Rental Property Items - When Is It Time to Upgrade - Article Banner

Renting out a Berkeley property requires you to be prepared to repair and replace each item throughout the tenancy. Materials are expected to deteriorate over time. Therefore, significant components such as appliances and flooring have a depreciable life and general life expectancy.

However, deciding how long you can expect the systems and items in your rental property to live depends on several things. Not all flooring, blinds, appliances, and paint are the same, but a range of time exists for how long materials hold up during the entire cycle of your investment property. 

As experienced property managers at California Pacific Realty, we present a comprehensive guide on the life expectancy of rental property items for owners and landlords to estimate when it is time to upgrade.

When and How to Replace Carpet

Carpet is a significant investment in a rental property, and worn carpet is the biggest reason for tenants not renting a property. Even the high-quality tenants, carpets eventually wear out over time due to frequent vacuuming, normal wear, and tear, tenants walking on the carpet, or pets urinating on it frequently. 

On average, carpet should last around nine to ten years, but it may wear out a little earlier if used in high-foot traffic areas such as hallways or walkways. According to HUD, a carpet manufacturer also assigns a life expectancy rating to the different types and styles of carpet. For instance, carpets made from nylon or wool are expensive but tend to last the longest.

On the other hand, polypropylene or polyester carpets are usually cheaper but don’t generally last as long as the more quality carpet materials. By knowing the average life expectancy of a carpet, you can accurately budget for future replacement and know how much to charge a tenant for carpet damage.

Also, a few signs indicate the time to replace the carpet, such as

  • Matting
  • Odors
  • Stains
  • Wrinkles 
  • Fraying
  • Snags, 
  • Holes 
  • Fading color 

However, with property care, a quality carpet can last approx 20 years or more. You can clean your carpets regularly, vacuum them, and use entrance mats in high-foot traffic.

Rental Property Appliances

As a landlord, you should find the right balance when equipping your rental units with quality home appliances. The life span for all major household appliances varies according to the quality of devices in your property and how often they are used. 

Most home appliances end their life span anywhere between 5 and 15 years. Here is an average life span for the major kitchen appliances. 

  • Refrigerator

You would agree that a refrigerator is one of the essential kitchen appliances. Refrigerators are made to last for ten years, with a shelf life of 7 to 14 years. Some refrigerators last even longer if they go through regular maintenance. 

  • Stove/Oven

There is a difference between gas and electricity. Electric stoves can also break down faster using more complex heating mechanisms. Gas stoves are easy-to-use and can last for a few more years. While gas stoves last an average of 15 years, electric stoves last for 13 years.

  • Microwaves

Though microwaves didn’t register as essential until the late mid-1980s, most Berkeley tenants can’t imagine a kitchen without this appliance. A high-quality microwave lasts an average of seven to nine years. However, you can replace it once it hits ten years to avoid unfortunate accidents. 

  • Dishwasher

Dishwashers are the newest and most sought-after kitchen appliances. The issues with these appliances tend to develop within the first five years. However, dishwashers should last up to 10 years if taken care of.

Prospective tenants prefer a kitchen with modern and matching appliances to one that looks messy and carelessly thrown together. Matching appliances with your kitchen can help you attract more rental machines, even high-paying renters and increase ROI for your Berkeley property.

Interior Paint on the Walls

The paint inside your Berkeley rental properties usually lasts three years. After the end of each tenancy, you may notice small nail holes where pictures are hung or scratches on walls or slight scuff marks where a piece of furniture is resting against the wall. 

Since all these are wear and tear items, you cannot charge your tenant for new paint. You can touch up the paint between two tenancies and ensure you provide a clean and fresh coat of paint at least every three years. 

According to California landlord-tenant guidelines, the landlord will have the rental property painted between rentals. However, a painting schedule becomes less noticeable when you have a long-term tenant. 

Under these guidelines, a resident who has lived in the unit longer than three years won’t be charged for the cost of painting for everyday wear and tear. But if the tenant caused damages to the walls in the first three years that required repainting, they are responsible for paying the cost.

Therefore, if you have leased a rental property for ten years, you cannot charge your tenants for new paint. 

Replacing Your Window Blinds

The average lifespan of window blinds is seven to eight years, but you may want to replace them even before that. Several signs indicate it is time to replace window blinds, such as

  • Warped or Misshapen Slats

Heat and humidity can cause damage to slats. Blinds made of faux wood often get warped due to excessive heat, while wood blinds get damaged due to moisture. If you see the slats are misshapen, it’s time to get a replacement.

  • Hard to Raise and Lower

Raising the window blinds is easy, but if you use a lot of force to lift them, it is a sign of worn-out blinds. You should not ignore the problem, or it can harm your tenants. Blinds that are difficult to lift may eventually fall, putting your family at risk of injury. 

Age and normal wear and tear can destroy the cords of your blinds over time, which are major reasons to get a replacement, and failing to address the issue may make the blinds unusable.

  • Discoloration

Excessive discoloration indicates window blind slats no longer have the same structural integrity. Yellowing or discoloration of blinds occurs when they are constantly exposed to the sun. 

If you notice any above signs, visit a reliable manufacturer of window blinds and wallpaper to get a better unit. You can look for the latest slat models with higher UV protection that may last longer than ordinary ones. 

Water Heaters and HVAC 

The HVAC system (Heating, ventilation and air conditioning) in your Berkely rental unit combines appliances you use to cool and heat your home. It is the most expensive and significant purchase in your unit. 

An HVAC system keeps indoor air quality healthy, moisture-free, and comfortable. If the system is underperforming or outdated, it can cause severe problems in the property. An HVAC unit generally lasts up to 15 years before it needs a replacement, especially when it is well-maintained. 

A modern thermostat typically works for at least 30 years. Though the weather in Berkeley is mainly predictable, there have been some remarkable hot and cold spells in recent years. 

Some popular home HVAC systems have the following life expectancy.

  • Window Unit AC – 10 years
  • Furnace – 18 years
  • Residential single-family unit – 15 years
  • Steam boilers – 15 to 35 years 
  • Heat pumps – 15 years 
  • Radiant heaters – 15 to 20 years
  • Thermostats – 10 years

Your inspections can reveal whether the entire system is due for replacement. To make it last longer, we recommend you have your HVAC system serviced and inspected as part of your preventative maintenance plan. It can save you money and allow you to keep your systems working longer than usual.

Light Fittings

An interior light fixture of your rental property lasts 40 to 50 years, an average of 45 years. A light fixture refers to the building codes as a “luminaire” and can get worse due to corrosion, obsolescence, a short circuit that fries the wiring, or accidental damage. 

You can replace the fixtures before the end of their functional life as part of updating a home or to match the current styles of your unit. You can replace fixtures and keep light fittings simple and easy for your tenants to reach for changing light globes. 

A tour of home improvement stores can show you a great range of lights available at all price points.


The roof is another significant investment in your Berkely rental property. One that protects your home from the inside and makes up to 40% of your unit’s curb appeal. Therefore, it is crucial to inspect the roof regularly and time for its replacement wisely. 

The lifespan of your roof varies based on the material used in it. While traditional asphalt shingle roofs typically last 20 to 25 years, wood shingle and shake roofs last between 20 and 30 years. Slate, copper, and tile roofs can last up to 100 years, whereas metal roofs can last 40 to 50 years. 

Depending on the average lifespan of your particular roofing material, you can predicate when your roof needs to be replaced. If the roof lifespan is at its end, consider its replacement as soon as possible. However, sudden damage and harsh weather conditions can significantly shorten your roof’s lifespan, especially if you leave the problem areas unrepaired. Here are the signs of age or normal wear and tear. 

  • Leaks

Leaks often appear at roof valleys and areas where flashing has developed breaks and cracks. If you have just a few leaks, a simple repair or roof patch may fix it. But in case of multiple leaks, consider an entire roof replacement. Since roof leak detection is a dangerous DIY job, hiring a roofing specialist is best.

  • Sunlight Through Roof Boards

If you notice any sunlight coming in through the roof boards, it is a sure sign that you have a leaky roof. Make sure you look inside your attic during the daytime, and if you find any holes, consider fixing them.

To replace your roof, the most common roofing materials in sunny and temperate areas like California include wood shingles, asphalt shingles, metal roofing, slate and clay or concrete tile. Many landlords opt for asphalt shingles because they come in many styles and are the most affordable roofing option. 

Improve Rental Unit With Property Management Company

Maintenance NeedsAs a responsible landlord, staying on top of your maintenance routine and understanding every item on your property’s life expectancy is necessary. As experienced property managers at California Pacific Realty, we can discuss your unique maintenance needs and help you learn more about your unit’s appliances, structures, and other investments. 

For more information, contact us at California Pacific Realty.