What Is ‘Fair Wear and Tear’?

Fair Wear and Tear

‘Fair Wear and Tear’ is not only misunderstood by many landlords, but it’s also completely unrecognised as a real concept.

Unfortunately, it is very real, and it’s important for both landlords and tenants to understand what it actually means, and how it plays a vital role in determining what damages tenants are responsible for at the end of the tenancy.

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Final Inspections & Damages

Earlier today I met my tenant for a final inspection before he handed back his keys and started a new chapter in his life without the best landlord in the world. I’m not sure how well he’ll cope, but nonetheless, good luck to him. He’ll need it.

Despite the fact we had a healthy relationship for the last 4 years, the final inspection was a dreaded affair (as it always is), because this is when everything can turn to pure shit. Not that I particularly cared, because he wasn’t going to be my tenant/responsibility by nightfall. However, it’s always easier (and often safer) to end on a good note.

But God forbid, I manage to find an issue that will require dipping into the tenant’s security deposit to rectify, because tenant’s don’t really understand it when that happens.

From my experience, if any damages are found, the tenants are generally reluctant to take responsibility. Then, when you actually make them accountable and start throwing around the phrase “deposit deduction”, they usually give you that, “are you taking the piss” look. Of course, I’m not taking the piss. The concept is simple, ‘you break it, you buy it, jackass’. Apparently a totally unreasonable principle. Go figure.

Ultimately, that’s why it’s important to compile a thorough property inventory and secure the deposit into a security scheme. It’s the best way to settle these situations fairly.

I remember a few years ago (before the tenancy deposit scheme was introduced), I had a tenant that literally smashed the front door in half. God knows how, but I imagine it had something to do with her adolescent snot-faced kids that used to run around like headless chickens. When I called her up on it during the final inspection, she played dumb, and said the door was always in that condition. Yeah, I don’t think so.

Broken Front Door

When I notified her that the cost to replace the door will come out of her deposit, she threw a hormonal hissy-fit and gave me a look that could kill. It was uncomfortable to say the least. It goes without saying, our relationship ended bitterly and the love we had one another vapourised into shit. However, she had been a tenant for 3 years, so I came to a compromise and offered to pay half. I didn’t need to do that, yet she still wasn’t appreciative in the slightest. She continued to stare me down with a gormless look on her face, like she had been slapped with a wet fish. Asshole.

Fortunately, this time round, there was no drama. I actually didn’t find anything that could be deemed as damage, or at least, taking into consideration how long he had been a faithful and well behaved tenant, I didn’t find anything that I wasn’t prepared to swallow the cost for. After most long lets, there’s usually ALWAYS something you can flag up and start querying.

Of course, this is unfortunate for you, because that means I won’t be telling you a story about how I engaged in a fuel filled battle with my tenant over his deposit, which resulted in me putting his head through a slab of concrete and pissing on him until he regained consciousness. Alas, the only touching that occurred was when we shook hands before we parted.

Fair Wear & Tear explained for Landlords

The common dilemma with final inspections is that there can be a very fine line between ‘fair wear and tear’ and ‘damage’. I’m sure most of you already know, tenants can’t be held liable for fair wear and tear. And that’s precisely why it can be such a controversial issue. While tenants will happily justify every blunder as fair wear & tear, landlords are equally as eager to chalk them up as damage. So it’s important to understand your rights, whichever position you’re in, because you don’t want to be taken advantage of.

Needless to say, it was blatant damage regarding the door scenario; there was nothing fair about it. That was a pretty black and white situation. But it’s not always so straightforward, and that’s largely down to the fact that there is nothing in law which defines ‘fair wear & tear’; the issue is simply too wide ranging. That means it’s a topic that is open to interpretation. That sounds awfully messy, right? It can be, and it often is.

But what the law does state that a tenant cannot be held responsible at the end of the tenancy for changes in a property’s condition caused by ‘reasonable use’. To quote, the House of Lords defines fair wear and tear as:

Reasonable use of the premises by the Tenant and the ordinary operation of natural forces.

Not exactly helpful, but with a bit of common sense you can take a good stab at what they mean. So, for example, carpets naturally wear overtime with normal use, which means landlords can’t force tenants to replace the carpets to their original state if they show signs of usage, because the condition constitutes as ‘fair wear & tear’.

However, if there are gaping big holes in the carpet and/or cigarette burns that weren’t originally there, it’s safe to define it as damage, consequently the tenant can be held responsible for covering the costs for the repair. Similarly, scuffs and scraps on the walls are typically deemed as fair wear & tear. However, smeared baby-poop and holes that you can put your penis through are not.

‘Damage’ Vs ‘Fair Wear & Tear’ in Rental Properties

Personally, I believe a lot of it does boil down to common sense. But obviously we can’t always rely on people to own any of that, and there lies the root of the problem. However, here are a list of things landlords should make allowances for when deciding whether or not something is ‘fair wear & tear’:

  • The original age, quality and condition of any item at commencement of the tenancy: consider the quality of the property itself. Many new builds are dogshit, they aren’t quite as robust or well-built as older properties. Walls and partitions are notoriously thinner and consequently, likely to suffer more stress. This typically means there is a greater need for redecoration at the end of a tenancy.
  • The reasonable expected usage of such an item: Bear in mind, nothing lasts forever, and every item has an expire date. So if a washing machine packs up after 10 years of good service, it’s fair to say it’s lived it’s expected life, and it would be unnecessary to claim against the tenant, even if there are signs of abuse.
  • The number and type of occupants in the property: The more tenants in a property, the higher the wear and tear, particularly in shared areas, such as the kitchen, stairway, sitting room, dining room etc.

    Scuffs and scrapes are unavoidable in normal family life. A property occupied by a single person will see far less wear than a family of four, so bear this in mind when it’s time for tenants to leave.

  • The length of the tenants’ occupancy (I took this into consideration when I decided to pay half for the door): The longer the tenancy, the more natural wear. Common sense.

    In many cases, I’m quite forgiving when it comes to long-term tenants vacating. If they have paid rent on time, and been generally well behaved, I don’t think it’s necessary to call them up on every small issue that can be deemed as ‘damage’. For example, this includes broken door handles, other small fixtures, and overgrown/abused gardens. My advise is to consider the value they have given you other the years, and repay them with a degree of lenience. Of course, it’s your call, and theoretically, you could be shrewd as you are ugly, and go after every last penny.

Legally, a landlord should not become in a better position materially than they were at the start of the tenancy. That means a landlord is not entitled to charge their tenants the full cost for having any part of their property, or any fixture or fitting “put back to the condition it was at the start of the tenancy.” without taking into consideration fair wear and tear. Because this would constitute betterment. Essentially, a tenant’s deposit is not to be used like an insurance policy where you might get ‘full replacement value’.

Therefore, appropriate remedies available to the landlord might range from:

  • Replacement of the damaged item where it is either severely and extensively damaged beyond economic repair or, its condition makes it unusable
  • Repair or cleaning
  • Compensation for diminution in inherent value of the item or the shortening of its useful normal lifespan

How to Prevent Damage & Wear and Tear in your BTL

It goes without saying, the best solution is to avoid damage and wear & tear, or at least minimise it. That’s crucial, because it will avoid a lot of escalating emotions, potential violence, and spending.

Due to the nature of this business, it’s virtually impossible to prevent damage and wear & tear altogether; we’re dealing with real life people that have functioning body parts and live normal lives (with the odd exception), so it happens. However, there are certain best practices to help keep it to a minimum.

  • Decorate sensibly, not like an idiot: I’ve discussed this in detail already, but the general premise is to decorate your property for what it is, a buy-to-let property, and not a showroom that will be housing cuddly toys.

    The key is to avoid cheap, flimsy fittings, no matter how tempting it is, because you’ll be forever replacing them. Focus on durability, which entails using robust carpets, appropriate paint colours, and quality appliances. Here’s a more detailed article on Decorating/Renovation Tips For Buy-To-Let Properties & Landlords.

  • Be a good landlord: keep tenants happy by being a good landlord, that way they’ll think twice before moving, and they’re more likely to treat your property like a home. This will involve, attending to repairs and maintenance issues in appropriate time, being contactable and responsive, and being understanding when rent is late (assuming it doesn’t happen frequently). It doesn’t hurt to improve living conditions now and then either, like applying a lick of paint, for example.

    Reducing your tenant turnover means that you will not be redecorating/renewing the property as frequently as you would for shorter tenancies.

  • Inspections: this is absolutely imperative, yet so many landlords fail to do it because they don’t want to get off their asses. Shameful.

    Making regular landlord property inspections (e.g. every quarter) is the best way to identity and squash any aspiring problems at the early stages so they don’t escalate into serious problems.

  • Set your expectations from the start: ensure your tenants are aware of what you expect from them, which is to keep the property well maintained and clean.
  • Protect yourself: while protection against wear and tear is vital, it’s also equally important to ensure that you have covered all bases in the event of a dispute with your tenant over the return of the deposit.

    The best way to do that, as already said, is to compile a thorough inventory and protect the tenant’s deposit (the latter being the landlord’s legal requirement).

Handling Disputes with Tenants over Damage / Wear & Tear

Disputes over deposits and damages isn’t uncommon. In fact, it happens a shitload.

First, let’s quickly take a look at the legislation. The Housing Act Schedule 10, which covers the tenancy deposit legislation, makes it clear that “fair and wear” can’t be deducted from the deposit:

(5)The amount claimed must be referable to –
(a)an amount of unpaid rent or any other sum due under the terms of the tenancy; or
(b)a liability of the tenant to the landlord arising under or in connection with the tenancy in respect of –
(i)damage to the premises subject to the tenancy, or
(ii)loss of or damage to property on those premises,
other than damage caused by fair wear and tear.

I’m a firm believer in compromising, and that should always be the first approach when dealing with disputes. Sit down and rationally try to come up with an agreement that all parties are happy with. This may often involve splitting costs, and taking some financial hits, but it’s definitely the best outcome. Prolonging these issues and taking matters further can usually do more harm than good.

Of course, this is real life, annoying shit happens, so often these issues don’t get dealt with rationally. And that’s precisely why it became compulsory for landlords to secure tenants’ deposits into a tenancy deposit scheme. That means, if there are any disputes that can’t be dealt with in-house (between the landlord and tenant), the case can get passed over and handled by the scheme’s independent adjudicator.

If you’re in that position, whether you’re a landlord or a tenant, you should notify the scheme the deposit is protected with. They will then assess the case and decide the outcome. It’s important to note, they will only assess the case based on the evidence provided. Again, this is why an inventory is so crucial. If you can’t prove your position, you won’t have an integrable case (particularly for landlords).

Over at The Dispute Service (TDS) website, there’s a library of case studies, which explains how the TDS adjudicator reached their decision on various disputes. They also discuss the best way to present a case. So, if you’re in the middle of a dispute, it’s worth finding a case relevant to yours, and looking over the notes to assess your chances and to determine the best way to strengthen your case.

Landlord 10% Wear and Tear Allowance

I just want to end on this final note, because it might be relevant and useful for those currently unaware!

If you’re renting out a fully furnished property, you can take advantage of a 10% wear and tear allowance. This does NOT apply to part-furnished rentals. The allowance covers items that a landlord would typically provide in furnished accommodation, such as: beds, freezers, cookers, curtains, carpets, sofas etc.

The deduction is calculated pretty simply. All you need to do is deduct 10% from the net rent. The 10% wear and tear allowance is claimed on the property supplementary pages of the self-assessment tax return, in box 34 of page SA105 (Income from UK property). For more details about this allowance, go to the HMRC website.

Update (6th April 2016): as of today, the 10% wear and tear tax allowance has been abolished! Landlords can now only reclaim what they have spent.

Yup, everyone say “BOOOOOOOO!”

So, has anyone had any experience with disputes regarding damages and/or wear and tear, from either a tenant’s, agents or landlord’s perspective? Would be interesting to hear your story, along with any additional tips/advice you have to offer!

53 Join the Conversation...

Showing 3 - 53 comments (out of 53)
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cybs 26th August, 2014 @ 06:41

really useful, common sense information. Too many landlords take the mick and get away with it as tenants don't know their rights and it makes tenants miss trust all of us.

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Kirsty 26th August, 2014 @ 07:21

Not filled with as much profanity as I usually like to see Mr Landlord, but interesting all the same. Thanks!

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frances 26th August, 2014 @ 07:34

No longer interested in receiving these - too many expletives. Too derogatory towards all and sundry.

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 26th August, 2014 @ 07:57

Clearly not pleasing everyone here. Sigh! The trials & tribulations of blogging :\

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Fab 26th August, 2014 @ 08:35

Excellent article! It is very informative and I have truly enjoyed reading it.

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Andy 26th August, 2014 @ 08:40

Got a check out inspection this Thursday so will try your approach. On the pre inspection check out the tenant had redecorated in vibrant orange and purple rather than neutral colours, the front door handle was snapped and super glued and a hole in the wall that the tenant caused some time ago (kids caused overflow sink from upstairs) has just been covered over with paper and tape and then over painted. I will have to repair and redecorate so is it fair on me or is the tenant being unfair? (good tenants for 2 1/2 yrs and have a good relationship with them). We have full inventory but my experience is that tenants just want money back and walk away from issues thus most checks outs involve some issues.

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Rob 26th August, 2014 @ 08:58

You've made a grey area a lot clearer, excellent article and really helpful for a first time landlord like me. Thanks :-)

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Katie 26th August, 2014 @ 09:21

Great article. As you say tenants generally want a full refund and class all issues as fair, wear and tear. Landlords are the opposite and frequently do not even acknowledge fair wear and tear and want the property restored (betterment). As an agent, we are stuck in the middle and have to convince both to meet in the middle ground. When this is not possible we have to use dispute resolution and in our experience this usually goes in the favour of the tenant (particularly for wear and tear issues) regardless of the evidence provided, because as you say it is such a grey area. We once had a tenant completely ruin a lawn, so the LL asked for £80 to re-turf it, which we felt was pretty reasonable and the DPS awarded £5 for a pack of grass seed!!

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charlie victor 26th August, 2014 @ 10:05

Tenancy Agreements:-
What is the position (e.g. mutual legal obligations) when tenants decline to sign a new tenancy agreement without cost on expiry of the initial one drawn up by the estate agent. The rent continues to be paid.

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Katie 26th August, 2014 @ 10:25

The existing lease continues on a periodic basis and the original terms apply.

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Goebbals Gerbils 26th August, 2014 @ 10:35

Great read.

Keep it up.

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Ryan 26th August, 2014 @ 11:35

Awesome article.

Another good point to note would be that both tenants/landlords should ensure the inventory is signed by both parties to confirm that all involved are happy with the condition listed. This way if anybody kicks off about a claim over damages - you can provide this document to the DPS or whichever shit-kicking deposit scheme is holding the monies.

Also, another good thing in absence of a video inventory, would be dated photographs. After dealing with the DPS for many years, it's clear that you really do have to cover every angle when going through a dispute. It even got to the point where I had to circle the damages I was referring to - despite the close-up shot of an iron burn on the carpet.

Be extremely detailed with your report!!

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Thunder Balls 26th August, 2014 @ 13:22

My Landlord is taking the piss. i have collapsed living room floor from damp and woodworm ridden joists that he laid laminate on top of over 6 years ago before i moved in.

He hasnt repaired it since it collapsed last year !

He has tried to evict me using a section 21 but hadnt protected my deposit and failed.

I am now having to take him to court for disrepair and as he and his agent have igniored my letter re appointing a joint expert, i am having to go it alone wit ha single expert.

He has refused all negotiation on compensating me and even told the council the property was uninhabitable so they stopped housing benefit (he was receiving direct becasue he lied about rent arrears - subsequently shown because he recently sent the council a rent ledger showing me upto date)

It seems to me in court hes now not only going to have defend leaving a rotten floor with a 10 foot by 2 foot by 7 foot hole but also non compliance with the Housing Disrepair Protocol. Of course I am seeking compensation for not protecting my deposit too and i would hope I would get more than 1 times compensation.

On a different case, my Girlfriend just had an decision from the adjudicator re her last property. The landlord refused any negotiation on damages when she left and went via the Deposit company all the way claiming for carpets and £20 for redecorating.

He won £35 out of the £200 for carpets and £20 for the redecoration.

He sent pictures from 2 years before she moved in as evidence and that was picked up and no doubt went against him. You have to wonder don't you.. here's my evidence .. pictures taken years before the tenant in question moved in ...

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Thunder Balls 26th August, 2014 @ 13:25

Oh and my landlord has no inventory...he never did one when I moved in and his agent told me so in an email a few months ago.

The gas also failed the inspection in the Spring and it is still cut off...

This is one idiot landlord.

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Katie 26th August, 2014 @ 13:44

Idiot Landlord? It sounds like you are living in a property with a whole in the floor and no gas?! You could at least enlist the local council's help to get him carry out his responsibilities via an enforcement order if necessary. If your deposit is not protected he could be ordered to pay you up to three times the value of your deposit.

All of this information is easily available via a quick google search and there is no need for you to live like that!

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Katy 26th August, 2014 @ 14:51

Having issues with my tenant who has left after 7 years. My letting and managing agent is just as bad as the tenant. I'm sure if a bomb had dropped on the property they'd say it's fair wear and tear. Looked at the tenancy agreement the damage term does not have a FWT exception in it "Not to damage the property and contents ......". FWT is only included in the "good and clean condition " clause. Is FWT implied into the damage clause if not expressly written? By the way it is worth noting that you don't have to go to the dispute resolution scheme. The landlord has to agree to go to ADR and can withdraw the agent's authority to agree to the ADR. I know not everyone wants to go to the small claims court but for all sorts of reasons I am going to have to.

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charlie victor 26th August, 2014 @ 16:23

It's getting a little heavy for me...FWT fair wear and tear, DPS deposit protection scheme, ok, - but ADR? ... does UPAD have an online letting abbreviations dictionary?

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Katie 26th August, 2014 @ 16:29

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Check out the DPS' FAQ page at www.depositprotection.com

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Malcolm 26th August, 2014 @ 19:24

You say that 10% W&T is from "net profit" but it's actually from net rent i.e. total rent less anything the landlord has paid that the tenant would normally be expected to pay (things like council tax),
This can be a lot different to net profit

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 26th August, 2014 @ 19:52

Thanks for all the comments, folks!

You're right, it should have said net rent! I've made the amendment! Thanks for pointing it out.

£5 for a pack of grass seed!! How ridiculous! So ridiculous that it's kinda' amusing!

Yeah, putting together a thorough inventory is crucial. Last year an adjudicator actually emailed me and explained exactly how to put an inventory together, which you can read here. He says a lot of what you covered!

I've had the exact same experiences, regarding tenants just wanting to walk away.

Tenants decorating with outlandish colour schemes is a bit of a tricky one from my experience. It usually depends on what the tenancy agreement says about decorating, whether they asked your permission (if they were required to), and if you have pictures of the original condition of the property. Depending on the situation, you should be entitled to use some of the deposit to restore the property, but as Katie said (comment #10), the dispute resolution service usually goes in the favour of the tenant, so you might just get the expenses for the paint and materials (if it goes that far). But as I said in the post, worth trying to strike up a deal first.

As for the other broken items, you're probably entitled to get compensation for those, from the sounds of it anyways. But it's up to you to decide whether you'll let them slide or not.

It's ALWAYS a tough situation, and it's usually about evaluating the situation.

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Katie 27th August, 2014 @ 08:48

@ The Landlord
I know right?! We did find it so incredible that we laughed a little, but our Landlord did not! Especially as she was expected to water said grass seed daily (in the height of summer) and she lives a good hour from the property :/ She wanted to appeal but of course there are no appeals to ADR, when it goes to dispute you agree that their decision is final. We have had some really absurd decisions over the years from adjudicators that seem determined to restore the balance in favour of tenants that have a history of being ripped off by Landlords before the scheme existed. Sucks for the honest Landlords and Agents who are now genuinely losing out on money they are entitled to :(

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Kirsty 27th August, 2014 @ 10:37

@ Katie - I agree, several instances of honest landlords charging fair prices for dilaps caused throughout tenancies totally ignored in favour of not upsetting tenant too much. Unfair or what!!

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Dave P 1st September, 2014 @ 08:04

Great read and in all fairness has cleared up some things which i didnt know about. I now knock that ive been a little bit too fair with my tenants. That will now change. Taking the p*ss!!

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Dave P 1st September, 2014 @ 08:05

Know....not knock (wtf)

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Thunder Balls 2nd October, 2014 @ 13:43

So the saga continues.

Awaiting expert report.

landlord doesnt appoint joint/own expert but gets her workmen to do a bodge job so .. I get my expert back in to assess the repair as well.

So atm the landlord has a disrepair case , repaired the damage badly/unsafe manner and my expert seeing and reporting the lot.

This is landlord that needs to read this blog because they are emotional and at every turn they do the wrong thing by the law which is only going to end one way - ££££ costs for them.

They continue to cut of their nose to spite their face and poiso themsleves at the same time.

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silly sailor 4th October, 2014 @ 14:33

Just a thought the government allows 10% of your rent to be deducted for tax purposes to cover wear and tear. So shouldn't you look at the 10% of the rent paid. If damage is this or less it's fair wait and tear. Or is this just something landlord see as a free bee from the government?

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Malcolm 8th October, 2014 @ 19:24

silly sailor....wear and tear is for furnished property only and so is meant to cover you replacing those fixtures and fittings and not many of the points being raised here. If it's an unfurnished property then no 10% and things like redecorating and holes in walls need to be paid for.
I try to be fair and know I have to redecorate at reasonable intervals but if there is damage caused by a tenant that brings that forward then I expect to make a charge

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Donna 9th October, 2014 @ 08:57

I was in a top floor flat for 5 years. Couple of days after moving in, noticed the windows were painted shut! It took him over a week and me threatening with Media to bring someone out with paintstripper. 4 years in, I mentioned water damage in the living room ceiling, even climbed up into the roofspace myself and found the wee window in the roof faulty - ergo, all rainwater since I do not know when coming in. Landlord did nothing. Mentioned mushrooms growing in the corner of that ceiling, he brought someone over to remove them (still the skylight was not being fixed) - couple of months later, was babysitting, Saturday morning, just fed the kids, the living room ceiling came crashing down! Landlord's answer? My fault for putting up shelves!! I almost fell over! Was sooo glad when he finally decided to involve an agency ( he was getting old), giving us space and professionalism...

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Thunder Balls 6th November, 2014 @ 22:39


it is time to start the Property Disrepair Protocol.

If you look at the sort of damages available for penetrating damp you are looking at at least 20% of your rent returned for 4 years plus from what you have said here and possibly as high as 60% plus other damages for extra heating, damage to your possessions etc.

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Jackie 14th August, 2015 @ 19:02

Renting my house through agents, (was originally family home) new tenants been in two weeks. Bathroom has acrylic bath, been ok for the last 10 years and various tenants/lodgers of various sizes! New tenant weighs over 20 stone and is complaining bath is flexing in the middle when he has a shower. Before they moved in I cleaned house etc after previous tenants and stood in the bath to clean tiles, appeared ok and didn't notice any flexing. How do I stand on this problem? Worried he will end up in the cellar below!

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Benji 14th August, 2015 @ 20:00


Did you not notice your prospective tenant was 20 stone when you interviewed them for the suitability for your property or did they just suddenly put on loads of weight once they had moved in?

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jackie 14th August, 2015 @ 20:12

Benji. As I said in the post, my property is fully managed by an agency, therefore, I did not see the tenants before they took on the property. So, no! I did not know he was a large chap.

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Thunderballs 14th August, 2015 @ 21:46

It isnt uncommon for couples to have a bit of rumpy pumpy in the bath.

20 stones isnt so much to ask for a bath to be able to withstand.

Ring a plummer, tell him you have a fat bastard in your proprty and see what he can do.

When if, fatty leaves (after you gave him the section 21) you ,ay fiind yourself in the same position down the line because, you are not allowed to discriminate.

It all comes with the territory.

Now if Lard bucket falls and breaks his arse then tries to claim it was your fault.. well that wont go too far because a few photos (with correct date stamps) on them will show tubby was most likely the architect of his own misfortune.

Now Tubby might prove to be an exceptional Tenant. How closer are you to a few takeaways ?

He is not likely to want to move = plenty of cash for you.

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Peggy sue 4th September, 2015 @ 11:15

My daughter is in the middle of a dispute with her former landlord ,she was a tenant for 6 years he is claiming for carpets for 3 bed rooms and landing and stairs she has found out that landlord was in dispute with the firm that laid the carpets and the firm pulled the carpet s up he then decided to pay them and told them to put the carpets back done,he was advised that because it was cheap carpet with no underly it would tear because they had clued the edges down but he told them to lay it anyway .my daughter has a letter from the man who laid it to confirm this .She painted every wall and door she put a wood flooring down in the big living room she bought 3new toilet seats she re turfed the lawn and left a decked area in the garden and after all that he is still asking her for nearly £600 from her bond I know what I would like to do with this man but it would be to bad to print

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Paul 16th October, 2015 @ 18:35

Excellent & informative.

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Zahra 22nd December, 2016 @ 16:26

Hi i recently left a property( october) i rented for a year exactly and i was told to pay an extra of £200 to compensate the bedding and bed set which i left in a good condition but i was told by the agent the bed set had to be changed because it no longer useful. I asked why do i need to pay extra including my deposit they also stated the bed was worn before i moved in but it got worse after i left so it my responsibility.
Mind you when i was leaving i over heard the agents stating the landlord wants to rent my room for more than I paid for. I don't want to pay for it and I don't have that money right now. I don't know what next to reply. I have rented properties before but i have never been in a situation were i have to pay for something I didn't destroy intentionally. Please help thanks

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Debbie 10th February, 2017 @ 01:34

I rented from a work collegues family for almost 7 years. There was never a moving in inventory completed but contracts drawn up by estate agents. Several times in the first years i asked about decorationing and keeping pets as the contract said they couldn't be kept and was told verbally it was fine, the house was newly painted when i moved in and i paid for 2 carpets and the landlady paid for 2 plus the stairs as it was all wooden floor boards. The walls had nails for pictures all over and the garden had rugs for a path. I loved the house though it was a good rentàl price and throughout my time i had a good relationship with the landlord, they helped cut the conifers back at times and i didn't worry them for minor repairs just sorted them. My deposit is £500. Suddenly i was given noticr9to vacate by new years eve on a hand written note i was really surprised bug believed there must be a good reason. I spoke with my landlady a couple if times and she arranged to met me in 27th December. We chatted i pointed out that i had left all the curtains and also left the original ones in a bag. U left a fridge amd wardrobe and she said that was nice of me. I handed over the keys and we partes on good terms. As with moving in there was no inventory completed. I thought the deposit was returned without me doing anything so 3 weeks later i phoned the deposit scheme to be told the landlord had applied for the full amount and they would put a hold on it and inform the landlady i had requested my deposit. One month after my tenancy finished i recieved a answerphone message from my landlady saying she wasnt happy and we needed to talk. Today i was gutted i thought i had respected my home for nearly 7 years. I left it clean. I didnt get the carpets professional cleaned but everywhere was clean. Today i am told the garden trees are overgrown. The carpets need steam cleaning because i only had permission for a dog and not a kitten and then begin makimg digs about how disappointed she was. I didn't know what to say she tells me the carpets will be 375 plus vat and she has had quotes for 1500 to get the garden back to how it was,and then says its only fair i let her have the deposit money for her inconvenience. Im gutted as i didn't do anything wrong. Looking back I maybe should have paid to get the carpets steam cleaned and given the walls a once over with paint so that it was perfect but it was a home and now i feel like just giving her the deposit but a part of me feels that i haven't really done anything to deserve the kick i feel i have received.
Any advise would be appreciated

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Drakie Limmer 5th November, 2017 @ 14:08


Really like this site and it's great to read things from a landlords perspective and I've certainly learnt a few things do THANKYOU!

I know you have a repairs and white goods advice section but my specific query isn't asked or answered clearly so...

After 18 months renting from a friend who didn't want a holding deposit and didn't put a tennancy agreement into place throughout our tennancy in which we kept the house and garden in immaculate condition until we were told the property was to be sold and we were given 2 months notice to find another place.

I told our landlord I was responsible or breaking one of the fridge freezer drawers and said I would get a replacement. The fridge freezer had already been used by a tenant for 12 months prior to our moving in and was purchased a year before they moved in so naturally it had a fair amount of wear and tear, however, it was me that broke the front of the drawer. I can not find a replacement on line ANYWHERE! The model and make went out of production the year it was purchased by the landlord. I have ordered one which the spare parts seller said matched my requirements, had it delivered and it didn't fit so it's got to be sent back.

My ex landlord and friend now wants money to compensate for the loss of value as they are selling the fridge freezer and have estimated what (new)replacement drawers generally cost. I am not happy about the amount requested as it was already 3 years old when we move in. It's 3 months since we left. Should I pay a quarter of what the item would have been listed for with a drawer and does that sound fair as its what I am being told I should pay even though a drawer can't be found and I think the amount they were selling it for is unrealistic and overpriced. The broken drawer does not affect or compromise the working mechanics of the item.

Please could I have a landlords feedback. I will take the advice I am given either way.


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Katy 5th November, 2017 @ 14:37

@Drakie Limmer

I've just checked my tenancy and the tenant is liable for the costs incurred in repairs to any damage they cause. I don't think this would fall within wear and tear (and you have now admitted it was your fault the drawer broke rather than it broke because of the age and condition of the machine which may have suggested wear and tear).

If the landlord wants compensation for the loss of value of selling the fridge it may be worth looking on ebay to see what a second hand fridge freezer of similar make / condition sells (without defects) and the same with defects and see what the difference is. If the landlord is charging an unrealistic price then you can suggest that he puts it on ebay with that reserve and see if it sells, and if not to sell it the next week with no reserve and see what it sells for.

Likewise I'm not sure if the landlord is charging you for the cost of what new replacement doors would cost, which I assume is around £25 a piece. Have you checked on ebay to see if you can find it cheaper and offered that amount as a compromise?

I presume the landlord could argue that if you hadn't broken the drawers then he wouldn't have to incur the cost of buying a new machine. It sounds as though he isn't charging you the full cost of the new machine which would be unreasonable so I think a good compromise would be to agree a reasonable sum for what replacement drawers would cost.

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Drakie Limmer 12th November, 2017 @ 06:04

Thank you, I paid the £25.00 requested

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HIlary 30th November, 2017 @ 21:21

Please can you post the name of the case or statute that states (to use your words) "a tenant cannot be held responsible at the end of the tenancy for changes in a property’s condition caused by ‘reasonable use’. "? Thanks

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Eric 1st December, 2017 @ 10:10

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/34/schedule/10 (4A (5))

The House of Lords defines fair wear and tear as “reasonable use of the premises by the tenant and the ordinary operation of natural forces”

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James 19th February, 2019 @ 15:17

Not that I would have ever broken the door but I'm telling yourself straight even if the tenant put his hands on you !!! You can ever only use necessary force not to mention if you did that to the wrong person there wouldn't be a house in its place would be rubble and a stolen digger !!!!!!!!!

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maggie 10th July, 2019 @ 12:42

we are having an issue with our tenants at the moment. they moved in 2 dogs and 6 cats. they leave them all inside the house, no one EVER takes the dogs out. the carpets are now stinking of cats pee and the dogs do theyre business in the house. the garden that was once a lovely space is now unusable. we had a gardener come to give us a quote to fix it refused to come back until all the dog poo had been removed. you literally cant tread anywhere without treading in mess. I cannot understand how anyone can class this as wear and tear. I have dog myself and my house does not reek. you gag when you walk into the house the stench is overwhelming. the tenants lease was not renewed and we are now waiting for them to vacate. we have a huge job ahead of us to rectify the house. I dont think a homeless person would consider sleeping in the stench to be honest. It seems to me that tenants have all the rights. a tenant can live like a pig but you cant say anything as people have the right to live like a pig even if its in your house.

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Russell 20th November, 2019 @ 19:01

Hello we had a sofa in the flat when we moved in i niw binned it the landlord when nuts saying it cost 2000 wamts money back do i need to pay him

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DAVE PK 21st November, 2019 @ 10:37

Hi Russell, It really depends on whether or not it was mentioned in the tenancy agreement when you took the place on. If it was mentioned as making up part of that agreement (furnished) then I would suspect you would be liable. you would need to confirm with the landlord if you were to bin anything that belongs to them.... even more so if its part of your signed agreement.

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Lena Hanafy 14th April, 2021 @ 12:34


I would like a bit of advice if possible.
My letting agents are trying to charge me for two cracked floor tiles - one in the kitchen, one in the bathroom. I've looked online and found various sources claiming that cracked floor tiles fall under fair, wear and tear and are only damage if the tiles are chipped or shattered. I have also found other sources which seem to push for cracked tiles being counted as damage so not sure what to think!
For context, I have lived in the place for two and a half years - the kitchen tiles were redone before I moved in, the bathroom tiles were not but I am being charged for both together as one whole charge (£75). There is also a persistent habit from the letting agency for charging me for things that go wrong in the flat when I request for them to be repaired and then backing down when I push back e.g. a dishwasher door repeatedly breaking that was over 5 years old and even trying to charge £10 for 'rust/screw' at the end of the tenancy. When I pointed out that there was no mention of a screw in the inventory report and not sure where this charge has cropped up from, the landlord deducted the charge. Basically, I am a bit distrustful of them charging me fairly and not just trying to get as much money from me as possible.
Would anyone be able to advise how I should proceed with the cracked tiles, if there's any point to arguing it or taking it up with TDS or whether I wouldn't really have much ground to stand on (scuse the pun).

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Jacqui Reddog 1st June, 2021 @ 06:47

We’ve been Landords for 10 years and this is the first time we are asking for compensation from the deposit due to breach of T/A.
Tenants seemed shocked even thought house was left filthy and kitchen worktop and cupboard door was damaged beyond repair. Sticky tape was stuck all over the walls. We have asked they pay for materials for work top and we paid labour and we have asked for 4 days labour plus paint for the areas that had to be painted. Their T/A clearly states that Tenants must inform Landlord of any defects at the property within a reasonable time. What are the consequences for the tenants if things are damaged or in disrepair and tenants failed to notify us?

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Catherine Shaw 1st June, 2021 @ 14:23

Jacqui Reddog- I think with failing to notify the landlord of damage within a reasonable time the tenants could be liable for any deterioration in damage arising from their continued failure to notify you. If there was no deterioration then it will just be a straightforward breach of the tenancy terms re: damage / cleanliness etc. Have you joined Property Tribes - if you post your question there you could get some good advice.

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Ellie 13th August, 2021 @ 09:31

I have cats and paid extra for them every month (50). I lived in a furnished place and the cats scratched the side of the sofa and the divan bed. I didn't do an actual deposit and opted for the deposit scheme instead so when the landlord did the walk through I was upfront about the damage (it was clear) and of course willing to pay to replace. I personally didn't think the sofa had enough damage to constitute replacing it however I felt there was enough damage to not argue the situation. The landlord ordered a new sofa and divan, sent me the bill and I paid it figuring this was easier than going through the deposit scheme. I hired a gardener to do a final clean up of the garden and while he was there the landlord showed up and tried to add on services and have the gardener charge me for those services. The cleaning service I hired did not do a good job and to coordinate them coming back out I added the landlord to the conversation because I am not available to go to the property. The landlord was asking for additional services (without my knowledge) from them as well (dry cleaning the blinds and polishing the wood) that would have cost me an additional 180. I was angry with the cleaning company for trying to charge me additional money just for them to complete the job they didn't do the first time. The cleaning company was angry and the landlord refused to have them back to the property and now wants to charge me a cleaning fee for the company that he has chosen to come out and clean. I left the property 6 days before the end of my lease because of personal reasons and I told the landlord he could have someone in to paint on a certain day but just to let me know if advance. He knew what day I was vacating and has entered the property multiple times without giving me advance notice or asking for permission. He is also now trying to charge me for a headboard that he says the cats damaged but he didn't notice during the extensive walk through with me. I personally consider the headboard normal wear and tear and really don't want to give him anymore money. I've paid a total of 850 (650 for sofa and bed, 160 for cleaners and 40 for gardener) in order to leave the property in better condition than I received it. There were dirty socks, old food and a dirty oven when I moved in (yes I have pictures) however I believe in leaving a property in a condition that I would be happy to live in. I don't think I would have much of an issue with the headboard if the landlord hadn't tried to upgrade the other services at my expense. Am I wrong for not wanting to replace the headboard? Will I be able to contest the bill I receive for the cleaners he hired? Any insight is appreciated.

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EnlightenedTenant 4th November, 2021 @ 22:51

I think there there is something here about explaining what a "decent" inventory looks like to both a landlord and tenant.

I've lived where I am for 9 years (and my landlords have been amazing)- but I have known for many years that the initial inventory is just full of grey areas which are so ambiguous I could challenge everything about it and put almost all of it down to "fair wear and tear" if I was so inclined.

For example, the inventory references damage to carpets in rooms - but not where it is or to what extent and the included pictures are of poor quality and don't reflect the location either.

I agree the inventory is key and protects both sides - but, if you have a poor one to start with the landlord has an up hill battle.

















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