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Most Common Areas for Dispute at the End of the Tenancy
Listed below are the most common issues that arise at the end of a Tenancy. In the main issues regarding Cleanliness, Tenants leaving Items behind at the end of the Tenancy, Maintenance issues and the Garden or outside spaces condition are avoidable!
The Clear leader of disputes at the end of a Tenancy is undoubtedly the “clean”.
Despite the fact that it is the most common cause for disputes, it is also really easy to avoid!
If the property is handed over to the Tenant by the Landlord having been professionally cleaned then it is the tenants responsibility at the end of the Tenancy to have the property professionally cleaned before it is handed back. At the Check In on the Schedule of Condition Page of the Inventory it will be noted clearly how the property was cleaned before the Tenancy Commences.
At the end of the Tenancy if you are a Tenant we would advise you to keep the receipt from the Cleaning Company. In our experience it is wherever possible advisable to use the same Company that carried out the incoming clean. If this was arranged by the Landlord personally or through the Estate Agent that rented the property call them to get the number. Using the same firm ensures a continuity of Service Level.
An accredited Inventory Clerk can tell the difference between a Professional Clean and a domestic Clean!
If the property was professionally cleaned at the start of the Tenancy and the Tenant does not have the flat professionally cleaned at the end, then the Tenant will be liable for any costs that are incurred to return the flat to a professionally cleaned standard.
Tenants Leaving Belongings Behind at the End of Tenancy.
At the end of a Tenancy when completing the check out report it is not uncommon to find that the outgoing Tenants have left behind items. We have found many weird and wonderful things over the years but the leading offenders currently include items of furniture, Kitchen Utensils, Magazines/CD’s, Clothing and Perishable Items.
Many Tenants could think that by leaving items behind that they can mitigate them against any damages or breakages for which they may be charged. This is not a reasonable expectation - unless it has been agreed in advance with the Landlord.
Any items left in the property by the Tenant at the end of the Tenancy which the Landlord has not agreed to be left will be removed. Any costs associated with the removal can be charged to the Tenant.
Wear and Tear
It is always the expectation that over a period of a year walls and floors will start to show marks, particularly in common use areas.
It is also true to say that wear and tear in a rental property is normally greater than in an owner occupied property.
When the check out is carried out, the Inventory Clerks will be aware of the length of the Tenancy and how many occupants were living in the property. Taking those factors into account the Clerk will make reasonable assumptions on what they believe to be fair wear and tear.
As a General rule adding nails, picture hooks, using blue tac, sticky tape without permission, could lead to being asked to “make good” For Tenants to avoid this a sensible approach if you do want to add nails or picture hooks to either contact the landlord or the agent and to say what you want to do and ask for permission.
The Inventory clerk will be made aware of this before the check out.
Additionally if you have have left excessive heel imprints on Wooden Flooring, staining on Carpets or excessive scuffing these are not normally considered as being fair wear and tear.
Damages and Breakages
Landlords and Tenants often take a different view of what constitutes damage and what constitutes fair wear and tear. Additionally instances occur where damage has occurred and Tenants and Landlords cannot agree on a value to be agreed for replacing/repairing or making good any damaged or lost items.
As an independent Company if necessary we will work with landlords, Tenants and Agents to act as a reasonable negotiator to help all sides to reach a satisfactory outcome.
A landlord is not entitled to replace something that has been used with a brand new replacement (irrespective of how much damage has occurred). When Landlords attempt do this it is known as ‘betterment.’ This is not deemed to be acceptable by regulated Agents or bodies such as the Dispute Service when seeking to resolve disputes.
Landlords are entitled to be compensated for any loss they may incur as a result of having to replace something sooner than the items estimated life Span. If manuals have been provided for appliances in the Property and the Breakage is down to negligence then compensation will also be expected.
When leaving the property the Tenant should also check that "light bulbs" are working. These will have been noted at the Check In and the expectation would be that they would working at the end of the Tenancy.
Tenants and landlords often disagree about which problems are maintenance issues for which the landlord is responsible.
An example is damp or water damage: clearly this is a maintenance issue for which the landlord is responsible. However, under the terms and conditions of a Tenancy agreement the Tenant has a responsibility to inform the Landlord/Agent of such issues. If a problem was prevalent for a period of time and not reported by the Tenant then they me be liable to contribute towards the cost of making good any damages due to their lack of reporting the problem.
This relates to other issues such as condensation, dripping taps, malfunctioning appliances. Tenants should ensure they are aware of their responsibilities as laid out in their Tenancy agreement.
Tenants normally have an obligation under the terms and conditions of their Tenancy agreement to maintain the garden/outside space. As a Tenant you should be aware of what your lease says about this so that you can ensure that it is returned in a similar condition.
If the Inventory has been completed properly at the start of the Tenancy photographs and a description of the Space and General Condition will have been taken. This will be done at the end of the Tenancy and will allow comparisons to be made.
It is recommended that Landlords or Gardeners tend the garden (mow lawns, weed the patio, sweep up leaves) prior to the start of every Tenancy.
If Tenants are to keep the garden/outside space at the necessary standard then it is the Landlords responsibility to provide the correct tools.