It’s the three words landlords despise: wear and tear. But what does it actually mean? Is wear and tear an excuse for carelessness or can it be measured? Where does wear and tear end and damage begin?
We understand exactly how confusing the issue can be. We also understand how it can reflect upon a landlord or tenant. That’s why we’re bringing you our guide to fair wear and tear to offer some answers and solutions.
What is Wear and Tear?
This question is certainly a tricky one. The truth is, wear and tear differs from situation to situation and there are many grey areas.
Having said this, common sense must always be placed at the forefront. If you fit fresh white carpet in a bedroom, you can’t expect it to remain fresh and white a year later. If that same carpet is burnt and stained with red wine marks, it can be considered damaged.
There are a few key points that affect the definition of fair wear and tear:
- Length of tenancy – the longer the tenancy, the more wear and tear you’ll see.
- Number of occupants – the more occupants in a property, the more likely there’ll be wear and tear.
- Age of occupants – when there’s children in a property, there’s a higher chance of wear and tear.
- Quality of the property – if you’ve got a newly refurbished property, there should be little wear and tear. Having said this, wear and tear in new properties is far more apparent.
Negligence and Recklessness
If something requires repairing or replacing, intensive cleaning or the care of a specialist, it’s most likely been damaged. Holes in walls, burn marks and broken furniture are all examples of damage. It’s worth asking whether the issue has come about due to negligent or reckless behaviour.
How to Prevent Wear and Tear?
One of the best ways to deal with this problem is to prevent it from happening in the first place. If you want to maintain the original condition of the rental property, there are a few handy tips to keep any issues to an absolute minimum:
Don’t create a showroom house which looks perfect but will never be used. Furnish your rental appropriately for the property you have. This means opting for the durable fixtures and fittings which will stand the test of time. Buying cheap is tempting as a landlord but you’ll forever be replacing items.
Keep the Property Clean and Well Maintained
It sounds so simple but this really does go a long way. You set the acceptable standard for your tenant. If the property is immaculate when they move in, they’ll want to keep it that way, minimising cleaning costs at the end of the tenancy. Regular property maintenance will also help to avoid any nasty surprises at the end of the tenancy.
Be a Good Landlord
Again, this is pretty much as basic as it comes. If you keep the tenant happy and show your professionalism, especially in the event of a dispute, they’re more likely to treat the property with respect. Be prompt in addressing repairs and maintenance issues.
Make yourself easily available. If you show that you care, they will too.
Look for Long Term Tenants
This can be a little tricky but it’s worth it in the long run. Look for tenants that will actually stay at your property for an extended period of time. These long-term tenants are more likely to take pride and ownership of your property.
There are some very clear rules on how you must approach a landlord inspection – you can’t just turn up and take a look around.
Schedule in a quarterly inspection and make note of any wear and tear or damage before it gets too far. Address the issue there and then if needed. Inspections are a great way of quelling problems before they get too far.
Set Your Expectations
There’s no harm in outlining your expectations in the tenancy agreement from the very beginning. Explain to your tenant that the property will require regular cleaning and maintenance to ensure it stays in a good condition. Wear and tear in your property is just as important as any other property-related issue (such as unpaid rent) and should be treated as such.
One way to set your expectations is to provide tenants with a pre-check out service that gives them a better picture of the tasks they need to complete before giving back the keys. This can minimise wear and tear, prevent disputes and result in a smoother transition period.
What Constitutes Wear & Tear?
Here are a few issues you may encounter which should be labelled as general wear and tear:
- Small marks/stains on carpets
- Small scuffs/marks on walls
- Naturally worn down carpets
- Loose hinges/handles on doors
- Faded/cracked paint
- Frayed fabric
- Small tears/cracks on furniture
- Faded curtains
- Dirty windows
- Loose/tight tap handles
Examples of Damage
Like the above list, here are a few examples of what can be considered damage:
- Broken locks
- Broken doors
- Tears, large stains or burns on carpet
- Large scratches on wooden floors
- Burnt/split kitchen worktops
- Holes in walls
- Poorly painted surfaces
- Torn curtains
- Broken windows
- Broken toilet seat
An Inventory Check In & Check Out
One of the biggest issues surrounding wear and tear is the tenancy deposit disputes that occur when a landlord and tenant disagrees.
With No Letting Go’s inventory services, you’ll receive the peace of mind which comes with an impartial, fully documented check in and check out procedure. Our service is reliable and consistent producing reports which stand up to scrutiny during any dispute.
A thorough inventory report will provide evidence of the property and its contents at the start of the tenancy and at the end to help landlords and agents cover the cost of any damage made on the premises by the tenant.
Discover our property inventory services today.