It’s the three words all 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 where does damage begin? We understand exactly how confusing the issue can be. We also understand how it can reflect upon a landlord or tenant. This is why we’re bringing you our guide to fair wear and tear to offer some answers and solutions.
This question is certainly a tricky one. The truth is, wear and tear differs from situation to situation. It’s unfortunate but there are no clear rules on what is ‘reasonably acceptable’. Having said this, common sense must always be used. If you fit fresh white carpet in a bedroom, you can’t expect it to be 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:
If something requires repair, 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. Comparatively, is the issue a symptom of natural use?
One of the best ways to deal with this problem is to actually prevent it from happening in the first place. This isn’t an exact science, there’s no way to completely stamp out wear and tear or damage. Having said this, there are a few handy tips to keep it to a minimum:
Don’t create a showroom house which looks perfect but will never be used. Decorate appropriately for the property you have. This means opting for the durable items which will stand the test of time. Buying cheap is tempting as a landlord but you’ll forever be replacing items.
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. If it’s a little scruffy with no attention to detail, they won’t take pride in its upkeep.
Again, this is pretty much as basic as it comes. If you keep the tenant happy and show your professionalism, 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.
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 tenants are more likely to take pride and ownership of your property.
There are some very clear rules on how you must approach an inspection – you can’t just turn up and take a look around. The problem is, these regulations often put landlords off inspecting the state of their investment. 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.
There’s no harm in outlining your expectations from the beginning of the tenancy. Explain to your tenant that the property will require regular cleaning and maintenance to ensure it stays in a good condition.
Sometimes, it’s easier to establish what’s considered fair wear and tear by highlighting a few examples. Here are a few issues you’ll encounter which should be labelled as wear and tear:
Like the above list, here are a few examples of what can be considered damage:
One of the biggest issues surrounding wear and tear is the deposit disputes that occur when a landlord and tenant disagrees. This is made even more difficult when there’s no photographic evidence to resolve the issue. It’s fair to say, this is an issue which can be stressful for everyone involved. 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. Find out more about how we can help make the inventory process seamless here.
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