What is wear & Tear?

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  • What is wear & Tear?

    We rented a newly refurbished flat to a couple just about 18 months ago. The flat was immaculate when they moved in. They signed an inventory which mentioned all was in a good and clean condition and there were new carpets and floor coverings plus other items. They left last week after giving one month's notice. We had offered to view the property with them before they left on a couple of occasions, at their convenience but they never had the time. Unfortunately the property has not been returned to us in the same clean condition as when they rented it, and as required and as stated in their tenancy agreement. There is also a damaged loo seat, which will need to be replaced, a damaged tap, some gloss painting required on scratched window cills, sealant in the bathroom which has mould on which cannot be removed, we will have to replace the sealant, damaged light fitting. Plus lots of cleaning, the oven, carpets, all paintwork, basin and bath all tiling in the bathroom and kitchen, the whole place needs a thorough clean. Before they moved out I gave them a list of all that was required, re cleaning and suggested professionals would be needed if they did not have time to do it themselves. I do not regard all the foregoing as wear and tear, does anyone else have a view on this. The loo seat, the light fitting, the bathroom sealant, the painting etc was all brand new 18 months ago. Comments please.

  • #2
    without seeing it ourselves, obviously very difficult to judge. But from what you have said, I would say none other than the window sills are fair wear and tear.
    Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.


    • #3
      Have the items listed fixed and cleaned. Take photo's before you fix and retain reciepts. Make up a schedule of charges and send copies to the tenants together with what is left from the deposit. Tell the tenents you will take the costs out of the deposit (which you hold iin your account) and if they wish to appeal to contact you within 14 days. You could you the council tenant relationship officer to help in a deposit dispute.


      • #4
        Elaine - I agree with Daz and Mr. Shed. One thing puzzles me though. What happened about the keys? You do not mention if you use an agent and if they have them. However if you do not, then in future do not offer to see your tenants, insist! Say that you will be coming at a certain time on the day they leave. You should meet in order to check the inventory, sort out the deposit there and then and receive the keys. I explain when tenants rent my flats, that the day they leave this will happen. Tenants are usually reassured by this knowing that they will in most cases have their deposit that day. If I walk in and the flat is dirty and untidy then I give them a choice of either cleaning it themselves or being charged £30. I know the feeling when you have produced a really nice, well decorated and clean flat, to have it returned not perfect. Unfortunately if you are a landlord then you have sometimes to accept that not everyone has your standards. Having said that, most tenants are great, and if given a high standard place will keep it that way. But just in case, we always paint everything white so that it is easy to touch up! Best of luck Susan


        • #5
          Further info on wear and tear please

          Thank you Mr Shed, Dazalock, Susan 2.
          It's good to get another view, and your replies are much appreciated. Just out of curiosity, what is fair wear and tear, can anyone give further examples, or is it very subjective in any event?
          Mr Shed your comment about the paint is accepted, further info for you is, I believe the tenants had pot plants on the window cills and the pots were porous, so the paint ended up not only very scratched but the surface was taken off totally, due to pots sitting in puddles!
          Dazalock we will (and have) do as you suggest, we have taken photos, we have kept the receipts, and will list and copy everything and send to the tenants, and will await their response.
          Susan 2, we manage the flat ourselves, so the tenants left the keys in the property when they left. You are right and next time I will insist on viewing either just before they leave or on the day. How I handle this situation usually is: Tenants give notice, I then send letter confirming this, with attachment of very comprehensive list (room by room) of what needs to be done regarding cleaning, and the last para stating if they are not able to leave in this condition (for whatever reason )then to arrrange cleaners etc. and/or advise us so we can arrange professionals to carry out the work. The tenancy agreement also states something similar. In my letter I also strongly emphasise that we are expecting to have the property returned to us in the same condition as when they rented it. I also state if we have to arrange professional cleaners this can cost in the region of £150 to £200 per day. (In the hope that they will arrange this themselves!!)
          Okay, thanks once again.


          • #6
            It is quite difficult to define fair wear and tear. It is basically the "natural" decline in the state of the property, fittings etc due to reasonable everyday use. So for example, wearing of the hallway carpet would be fair wear and tear, but staining of same carpet would not.

            Having explained more about the window sills, you are probably correct then that it isnt. As I say, and as you say also, it is quite subjective, and it is very difficult to form an opinion without seeing first hand the damage, so to be honest no-one can help you more than yourself. However, if the photos were taken with a digital camera, I would be interested to have a look.
            Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.


            • #7
              1. Wear & Tear does indeed have a definition as I have posted before - it's "Natural Deterioration" - that is deterioration after taking into acocunt normal usage- easy!
              2. Susan 2 says "You should meet (the tenants) in order to check the inventory, sort out the deposit there and then........" to agree dilapidations - not true - they have no right to be in attendance and may only do so by invitation which is a pain. I would not have tenants in attendance just in case they want to start an argument (that will cost them £5.00 [for all you Monty Python afficionados - tee hee!])
              The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.


              • #8
                Paul - How can you come to a reasonable agreement, if the tenants are not there. Its just not fair. Maybe I expect people to be pleasant and not have arguments. Just as I expect to treat them with courtesy. Of course sometimes there may be discussion over a particular point, and how much of the deposit will be retained. But I have found that if tenants are treated well and do not feel they are being ripped off then an amiable agreement can be reached. But if I was a tenant and the landlord said to me that I had no right to be there when he checked the inventory etc, then immediately the atmosphere starts to go wrong. Then you get problems. Maybe I am just old fashioned or I choose nicer tenants! I certainly would not want to be a tenant of yours, if you take that attitude. And usually you are such a helpful pleasant person!


                • #9
                  I think what Paul means is that legally they have no right to insist on being there. But at the end of the day if you wish to ask them you can do. And if they ask you it's up to you if you say yes or no. As you said it depends upon the tenants and the relationship you have had with them etc.


                  • #10
                    Thanks folks

                    Thanks very much for all your responses. They are appreciated.


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