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What constitutes fair wear and tear?

One of the ongoing challenges for any landlord and lettings agency is what constitutes fair wear and tear. Most tenants realise they are paying for the right to use the house and furniture, if there is furniture present and that if they break it they will be expected to replace it. The problem comes when a piece of furniture say a chest of drawers that is obviously four to five years old begins to show its age and the bottoms begin to drop out of the drawers due to the frame of the drawer warping. Is this the responsibility of the present tenant or the responsibility of the landlord, who has had four to five years of usage from it even before this tenant arrived and who happened to be in the property when the bottom finally falls out of the frame?

We have a case at the moment of a mouse being seen in a flat we manage over a restaurant. The tenant is very clean and does not leave food around and so is this the cost of the visit by the pest control the responsibility of the restaurant or the cost to the landlord of the flat or should the cost be spread over all the other flats as some of them are not that clean and tidy?

There is an ongoing challenge with drains especially in HMO’s (Houses of Multi Occupation) - where there are en-suites. Over time drains become clogged with hair especially where there are ladies with long hair and/or there are long shallow drains, which don’t allow the water to get sufficient speed to keep them clear. It is obviously the responsibility of all tenants to keep their drains clean but what happens with drains shared with other tenants.

Similarly with taps, as the washers or ceramic seals nowadays wear out and eventually they need replacing.

The check of all these various items should take place with the inventory, which requires a very thorough inspection of everything. It is crucial to check that sinks empty, taps turn off, gas sparkers ignite all the hobs, toilets flush and fill again, light switches turn on the lights and drawers not only pull out but have a bottom which will hold clothes. Unfortunately many landlords think that inventories are an unnecessary expense but they can save many hours of anguish and cost not just at the end of a tenancy but during it as well. Maybe inventories cannot resolve the problem of mice but then quarterly inspections will go a long way to controlling this sort of thing. Blue i Properties are a fierce advocate of inventories and quarterly inspections and so if you have any of the above challenges or more, give us a ring on 01332 371661as we sort these sorts of things out on a daily basis.
 

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