The Fairness of Wear and Tear
Did you know the average length of a private tenancy is now reaching 20 months? What does this mean for the landlord? Wear and Tear – The longer the tenant stays in the property the more likely it is that the property will be subject to wear and tear and when this occurs a landlord could decide to hold on to the deposit in order to cover the cost of repairs, redecoration and cleaning bills at the end of a long tenancy.
Damage and fair wear and tear need to be independently and expertly assessed in order to provide solid grounds for any charges raised against the tenant. Quite simply this is not an area for landlords or agents to try and undertake themselves, as any damage missed at check out cannot be later charged to the former tenant, ultimately leaving the landlord to foot the bill.
The best way to avoid costly deposit disputes is to ensure you have a comprehensive inventory in place at the start of any new tenancy and that a thorough check in and check out report is completed.
Aside from ensuring their is a fair contract in place at the start of a tenancy agreement, a professional and detailed inventory will enable both parties to be treated fairly and reasonably. By opening a dialogue and using an independent inventory clerk, disputes can be resolved quicker and without the hassle that is often experienced at the end of a tenancy period.
Members of the AIIC are experts in assessing fair wear and tear and have the knowledge and experience to take into account all factors and make a reasonable judgement as to whether something is fair wear and tear or not.
The AIIC has put together some advice on what ‘wear and tear’ should be covered by the agent/landlord:
- The walls and ceiling should be painted every 3-5 years.
- Everything in a property has a limited lifespan. A landlord must expect to have to renew things following a long tenancy.
- Every year renewals would include things such as: inexpensive doormats, plastic or cheap wooden kitchen ware, ironing board covers, lightweight chopping boards, oven gloves, cheap saucepans and paper lampshades. Replacing bath sealant also falls under a landlord’s maintenance issue after a tenancy of one year or longer
- Every three years renewals for landlords would cover this such as poly cotton bed linen, mattress and pillow covers, duvets, metal colanders, inexpensive kitchen bins, barbeque tools and indoor clothes airers.
- Some things should be treated as ‘expendable’ if they are missing or damaged after a long tenancy – items such as plastic toilet brushes, inexpensive pillows and mattress protectors, flower arrangements, plastic shower curtains, houseplants, plastic & wooden kitchen utensils.