Landlords Don’t Want To Pay For Rental Property Damage

Thursday, August 20, 2015
Landlords Forced To Fight For Rental Property Damage Claims

Landlords Forced To Fight For Rental Property Damage Claims

Landlords Forced To Fight For Rental Property Damage Claims 

Determining fair wear and tear in rental property is probably one of the most difficult and misunderstood areas of renting in the UK’s private rented sector (PRS) as letting agents and landlords may have different views to tenants regarding what are allowable deductions to be made from the tenant deposits.

Landlords and letting agents will expect tenants to pay for damage that would normally have been classed as above normal fair wear and tear expected in rental properties, out of deposit funds held in one of the three Government protected deposit protection schemes.

If damage to the rental property has occurred then Tenant’s Liability insurance can cover accidental damage claims up to £2,500 (GBP) against accidental damage to furniture, fittings and fixtures in a rental property.

Even if the damage was accidental, it is still the tenant’s responsibility to pay for such repairs or the landlord would be entitled to deduct the costs from the tenant’s deposit.Data published by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, (TDS), gathered for their annual survey reveals that in 2014:

  • Cleaning related issues accounted for 56% of all deposit disputes
  • Damage to property accounted for for 43% of all deposit disputes
  • Redecoration accounted for 30% of all deposit disputes
  • Rent arrears accounted for 17% of all deposit disputes
  • Gardening issues accounted for 13% of all deposit disputes.

In 2014, 55% of all tenant deposit disputes were raised by tenants unhappy about the total amount of proposed deductions requested from their deposits, of these, only 21% received all their deposit back. However, 45% of disputes that were raised by landlords and their appointed letting agents but only 19% received the amount in dispute.

To clear up any confusion between landlords, letting agents and tenants, the rental property condition should be fully recorded using a comprehensive inventory at the start of every new tenancy, and a thorough check-in and check-out report should be completed before being signed as correct by tenants.

Tenants have a duty of care to return the rental property back to the landlord or their appointed letting agents in the same condition at the end of the tenancy, as found at the start as detailed on the inventory report that should be accompanied by photographic evidence to support the description.

Allowances should be made for wear and tear, as the law does not allow landlords to claim betterment or new for old from tenant deposits.

Rental properties should be returned to the landlord in the same state as they were when tenants first moved in, as detailed in the rental property inventory

Landlords and letting agents expect tenants to pay for the following items from their deposits:

Cleaning: This covers all rooms in a rental property, especially kitchens and bathrooms.
If something can be cleaned, then it should be, if not then it should be done at the tenants’ cost, providing there is documentary evidence in the form of a detailed inventory to prove the item was clean at time of check in.
If for example, the oven is left dirty, then the tenant can be charged for it to be professionally cleaned.

Damage: Any damage to the rental property and its contents, fixtures and fittings can be charged to the tenant.
Common and expensive damage to rental property includes:

  • Burns/ Damage To Carpets And Floorings
  • Chips And Cracks To Baths, Sinks and Tiles
  • Serious Scratches To Ovens / Hobs
  • Cracked And Broken Windows
  • Burns / Damage To Kitchen Worktops

Walls: If the tenant has painted the property with a non-neutral colour, without the landlord’s permission, then the cost of repainting can be charged to the tenant.
Any serious damage caused to walls and ceilings, such as heavy markings, scrapes, nail holes, screw holes, blue tack marks, sellotape marks, additional cabling fitted either with cable clips, or from a drilled hole through walls, grease marks and excessively grubby areas also fall under a tenant’s responsibility.

Gardens: These should be maintained by tenants and their responsibilities should be highlighted in tenancy agreements, unless the landlord is providing such services through outside contractors.
Tenant’s play equipment, including swimming pools and trampolines can cause large areas of damage to lawns, as can tenant’s pets. This is avoidable damage and the tenant must be held responsible for making good the damaged areas.

There are specialist insurance policies available to landlords and letting agents that can help to provide insurance for tenants to help them protect their deposit against accidental damage to a rental property.

Tenant’s Liability insurance helps tenants cover the costs of repairs to furniture, fixtures and fittings up to the value of £2,500 (GBP), where damage has been caused by tenants or their visitors that exceeds what would be expected by reasonable use of the rental property and the ordinary operation of natural forces at the end of a tenancy.

Even if the damage is accidental, it is the tenant’s responsibility to pay for such repairs or the landlord is entitled to deduct the costs from the tenant’s deposit.

This was written by Mike Clarke. Posted on at 11:30 am. Filed under Insurance. Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments here with the RSS feed. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.