Whilst renting out your property wear and tear is unavoidable. There is a slight grey area when it comes to what crosses the line between ‘fair’ wear and tear and tenant damage, since there is no legal definition of the former. However, wear and tear is damage to the property that occurs overtime that isn’t due to tenant neglect. Where as, tenant damage is when damage has occurred due to abuse or neglect from the tenant that could have been avoidable.
What is ‘fair’ wear and tear?
Fair wear and tear is the decline in the condition of a property due to everyday use. It is caused by everyday living and is not due to the neglect or abuse by the tenant. For instance, you would expect there to be loose door handles, a few scuffs on the paint work, minor stains on carpets, dirty windows, faded carpets and curtains due to exposure from sun light etc. These would all be considered as fair and normal wear and tear when a tenant moves out of the property.
How do I avoid wear and tear as a Landlord?
There are a few things you can do to prevent wear and tear on your property. The main things you can do would be to carry out regular inspections on your rental property and make sure you are being a good Landlord.
You must make sure you have informed the tenant that you want to carry out an inspection and you must arrange the appointment with the tenant and give them at least 24 hours notice of the inspection.
Being a good landlord to the tenant goes without saying and consists of remaining professional, even if there are any disputes, and making sure maintenance and repairs are carried out in a timely manner. Showing you care about your property and the tenant who resides there should make the tenant more willing to look after the property and therefore, it is less likely to have wear and tear and tenant damage when they move out.
Why having an inventory is a good idea
Providing an accurate and detailed inventory complete with dated pictures of the property is always a great idea. It can have a huge help in avoiding any disputes over damages between tenants and landlords. A good way of doing this is to have a walk-through inspection with your tenant before they move in to document the condition of the property and its contents and any existing damage should be recorded. The tenant and Landlord should both sign a copy.
When the tenancy has terminated do the same again and carry out another walk-through inspection with the tenant and document any damages that have occurred throughout the tenancy. This will give the tenant an opportunity to agree with or dispute your findings. The tenant is likely to dispute claims that they have no prior knowledge of which is why carrying out these inventory’s is a great way to protect both the landlord and tenant.
What is tenant damage?
Tenant damage is not naturally occurring and happens when the tenant neglects or abuses the property and effects the value and usefulness of the property. For example, a broken toilet seat, holes in walls, large stains or burn marks in the carpets, pet urine soaked into carpets, broken locks and broken windows would all class as tenant damage.
Is the tenant responsible to pay for repairs/replacements for damage caused to the property?
Yes, the tenant who caused the damage to the property either purposely or due to neglect is financially responsible to fix and repair the damages. The Landlord can claim through the scheme that the tenants deposit is held and if the landlord can prove the damage was caused by the tenant, and both the landlord and tenant agree on an amount to fix the damages, then the landlord should receive payment within 10 days. The process can be a lot longer if the tenant does not agree to the amount. If the damage exceeds that of the deposit, then the landlord can apply to a county court to file a claim for a larger amount. In the event of a dispute, you may have to produce a copy of the tenancy agreement, a statement as to why you are making the claim, proof of the damages such as dated images and evidence that the sum of the claim is reasonable i.e., Work estimates, invoices, and receipts of items.
We hope this article helped answer some of the questions that you had however, should you require more information, please contact us and we will be more than happy to help.