Wear and tear is a basic concept as explained by Elite Homes and Property experts that may give landlords a lot of headaches if they don’t grasp how it varies from willful or careless damage caused by the tenant and what amount of expenses can be offered at the conclusion of the tenancy.
The House of Lords defined wear and tear as “reasonable use of the premises by the tenant and the normal functioning of natural forces.” This isn’t the most helpful definition for landlords and agents in the context of residential lettings as claimed by Elite Homes and Property experts, therefore the following will help.
In a rental property, what constitutes “normal” wear and tear?
Although fair wear and tear is not a new idea, it is frequently disregarded when landlords and brokers seek damages from renters.
The difference between wear and tear and tenant damage
A crucial criterion is that fair wear and tear only pertains to the ‘condition’ of a property or object, not its ‘cleanliness.’ At the end of the tenancy, the property must be cleaned.
How to calculate wear and tear
There are several elements to examine when determining if any expenses for damage at the end of the tenancy should be recommended, as well as estimating wear and tear.
Who your tenants were and how many lived in the property
Knowing what kind of renter you have can help you manage your expectations for how they will depart the property at the conclusion of the lease. Whatever renters you have, keep in mind that preventable damage like a child’s scribbles on the wall, etc.
Duration of tenancy and the age, expected life and quality of items and areas
Tenants are not liable for natural wear and tear on any component of the property that existed prior to the start of their tenancy or during their stay.
Consider the age of the locations or things when analysing wear and tear. The ‘quality’ of an item would have to be demonstrated by records.
Avoiding betterment and considering apportionment
As a landlord, you do not have the legal right to have old things replaced with new ones at the tenant’s expense, leaving you in a better position than you would have been had the damage not occurred. This is referred to as ‘betterment.’
Instead of realizing the rewards of improvement, the landlord must:
- Rather of reaping the benefits of upgrading, the landlord must: 2. Consider reasonable wear and tear.
- Implement the best solution, whether it’s a replacement or a repair.
- Not be financially or materially better off as a result of (1) and (2). (2)
How to keep wear and tear to a minimum
These are the few things to minimize wear and tear:
Maintaining excellent connections with your renter from the beginning and providing them with helpful advice on how to care for the property can only be advantageous, as it will allow you to do any necessary repairs quickly.
Photo and video evidence
The importance of having strong visual documentation to go along with quality check-in and check-out inspection reports, as well as any property visits made throughout the rental, will all aid in any negotiation. Photographs and video recordings showing damage, such as burn scars, carpet stains, and other blemishes, can be quite helpful.
Dispute example – Damages and fair wear and tear
The example below is taken from a my deposits dispute case.
Disputed amount: £642.96 for damage to three items/areas of a property
That during the tenancy:
- a little damaged coffee table required repair;
- the washing machine seal had deteriorated owing to lack of cleaning and required replacement;
- several kitchen worktops had been damaged and required replacement.
The renter was being held responsible for the costs of the necessary repairs and replacements.
- the coffee table had previously been marked;
- the washing machine should be under landlord care,
- the entire property was thoroughly cleaned before leaving; the worktop had already been marked by a burn;
- The tenancy agreement, check-in and check-out reports, dated photos, quotes
- The adjudicator ruled the renter liable for a portion of the quoted repairs due to coming markings during check-out.
- The rubber seal had a lot of mould on it, according to the check-out report. The adjudicator agreed that the property cleaning had not succeeded in removing the mould.
- A big white ring mark and three additional minor burns were noted on the checkout report. There was no evidence to support the tenant’s claim that the burn marks were already there and the landlord was awarded reasonable costs
To the landlord:
- Coffee table: 60% of the cost of repair after two years of wear and tear and to avoid improvement for the landlord (£100.68)
- Washing machine: 100% of the cost of the replacement seal, plus the call out fee and labour (£135.70).
- Worktop: £275.00 for the cost of repairing the damaged portion of worktop, adjusting for wear and tear and avoiding improvement.
- Tenants should be urged to report any damages they discover as soon as possible, in writing.
- Good invoices include a complete breakdown of supplies, labour, and call out charges.