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Can anyone advise me as to the definition of 'reasonable wear and tear'? We have recently moved out of our rented flat after one year. As far as I was concerned I had cleaned it from top to bottom and felt it was in an immaculate state. The landlord is holding our deposit and has expressed his 'horror' at how the flat has been left. There are scuff marks on the walls in the hallway, but as the halls are so narrow it was impossible to get our furniture in/out without marking the walls. There are also a few scuff makrs in one of the bedrooms, again caused by furniture. Can this be described as 'reasonable wear and tear'? There are also two scratch marks on the laminate floor which I accept responsibility for. The landlord has said that individual strips of the laminate cannot be replaced and that the whole floor would need to be replaced at a cost of £600. He has also informed us that the oven is not clean enough and that it should be in the state it was in when we moved in (i.e. new). I have cleaned the oven three times but as we had used it every day for a year it inevitably has grease marks on the side that I cannot remove. The rest of the oven is sparkling. He has said we need to get it professionally cleaned. I am also a landlord myself and have never held back any part of a deposit for scuff marks on paintwork nor dirty overns. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Unfortunately, as harsh as it sounds, he is pretty much entitled to most of those costs. The scuff marks are not just fair wear and tear, it is actually damage caused(even though perhaps unavoidably) due to your actions. He is also probably correct about the laminate flooring not being able to be replaced strip by strip, especially if the marks were in the middle of the floor. However, he can only charge "like for like", which would include age, so depending on the age of the flooring he cannot charge you the full whack for it. The oven sounds certainly chargable. Unless an oven is cleaned weekly/fortnightly, it would require professional cleaning to get it back up to standard.

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from the Citizens Advice Bureau:

Wear and tear

Over a period of time, most household furniture and contents deteriorate as a result of normal use, for example, floor coverings will become worn. This is known as ‘wear and tear’, and you would not be responsible for replacing these items.

If the extent of the wear and tear means that it causes a hazard, for example, springs in an armchair begin to stick through the upholstery, your landlord should repair or replace such items.

If your landlord has supplied an appliance such as a cooker or a washing machine that was working as the beginning of the tenancy, they have a responsibility to repair or replace it if it breaks down, unless this is the result of your negligence.

http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/n6w/index/fa...to_the_property

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I'll disagree with Mr Shed on this one. Any damage that can be repaired by very simple redecoration (ie scuff marks) is reasonable wear and tear and landlords should expect to have to redecorate occasionally anyway. A slightly dirty oven is only natural after a period of use. A few scratches on the floor my ****. He's not really going to replace that shoddy laminate flooring, he's just looking for excuses to withhold your deposit. He'll just touch it up or put a rug on it when he's showing it to tenants.

The way to look at this is this. If the landlord had lived there himself for a year, what state would it be in? It would most likely have a few scuffs, a few scratches, and a slightly dirty oven - how many people seriously clean their oven every week? That is the wear and tear of someone living in the flat. If he let his own flat after living there for a year he would either have to let it out with these flaws or redecorate - his choice, but not your problem.

If I were you I would fight it in small claims. There's a good chance you'll win, and it may not even come to court as even the threat of this may loosen his wallet strings.

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Unfortunately, as harsh as it sounds, he is pretty much entitled to most of those costs. The scuff marks are not just fair wear and tear, it is actually damage caused(even though perhaps unavoidably) due to your actions. He is also probably correct about the laminate flooring not being able to be replaced strip by strip, especially if the marks were in the middle of the floor. However, he can only charge "like for like", which would include age, so depending on the age of the flooring he cannot charge you the full whack for it. The oven sounds certainly chargable. Unless an oven is cleaned weekly/fortnightly, it would require professional cleaning to get it back up to standard.

Got to disagree with you there Mr Shed.You can't justify scuff marks as damage or the laminate flooring.As for the oven "fair wear and tear" :rolleyes:

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I definitely agree with both pms and Magpies points of view....this is certainly not an immediately obvious answer, and can see both sides of the coin. I just happen to fall on the side of the landlord on this one. Perhaps it isn't entirely fair, but legally I think he could be in the right. Any more opinions?

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I would have thought if the laminate flooring which was prone to marking in it's nature, then marking would be fair wear and tear. If it was not prone to marking (such as solid wood flooring which can take a good layer of polish to protect it, and can be sanded down and re-varnished if damaged) then it would not be fair wear and tear.

On a side point, don't you get 10% tax relief per year for a furnished property to allow for fair wear and tear? Therefore the government reckons that 10% of your total rental income should be enough to put the house back to the condition in which it was let out. Anything over this is not fair wear and tear and so could be taken out of the deposit. Anything under this is fair wear and tear and so should not be taken out of the deposit.

Edited by Imp

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On a side point, don't you get 10% tax relief per year for a furnished property to allow for fair wear and tear? Therefore the government reckons that 10% of your total rental income should be enough to put the house back to the condition in which it was let out. Anything over this is not fair wear and tear and so could be taken out of the deposit. Anything under this is fair wear and tear and so should not be taken out of the deposit.

2 points on this:

- No its not 10% of the RENTAL INCOME, it's 10% of the tax paid.

- You do not have to use this method, you can claim individual tax back on each repair etc instead of using this method.

Needless to say, it would not be a valid argument in court for a tenant to say "well I only caused damage totalling to less than his 10% tax relief so I shouldn't have to pay" :)

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my landlord took about 3 months before he fixed my leaking toilet which has cause damp damage to the wall in the bathroom, however i did write him a letter which i photocopied just incase he tries to diddle me when i move out!

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Wear and Tear can be a grey point.

Tenant thinks this is okay..Landlord thinks I need to spend this amount of money to let to the to next tenant.

A compromise must be met

Mind you,when the new deposit laws comes in soon, who knows what will happen?

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I'll disagree with Mr Shed on this one. Any damage that can be repaired by very simple redecoration (ie scuff marks) is reasonable wear and tear and landlords should expect to have to redecorate occasionally anyway. A slightly dirty oven is only natural after a period of use. A few scratches on the floor my ****. He's not really going to replace that shoddy laminate flooring, he's just looking for excuses to withhold your deposit. He'll just touch it up or put a rug on it when he's showing it to tenants.

The way to look at this is this. If the landlord had lived there himself for a year, what state would it be in? It would most likely have a few scuffs, a few scratches, and a slightly dirty oven - how many people seriously clean their oven every week? That is the wear and tear of someone living in the flat. If he let his own flat after living there for a year he would either have to let it out with these flaws or redecorate - his choice, but not your problem.

If I were you I would fight it in small claims. There's a good chance you'll win, and it may not even come to court as even the threat of this may loosen his wallet strings.

I went to see the landlord on Friday so that he could show me his flat in comparison to the one I had rented (he lives in the same block). His looked like something out of an Ideal Home Magazine and unless you knew otherwise you would not think that anyone had actually lived there. I explained that it was unrealistic to expect a rented property occupied by a couple and a child to be in the same state after a year of normal living. In any event I paid for a decorator to paint the hallway and two rooms of the flat and have bought a laminate repair kit. His argument was that a laminate floor should last 20 years with no scratches or marks whatsoever. He now has an issue about the bathroom tiling grout. The bathroom has no windows and therefore no ventiliation. We live in a hard water area therefore limescale build up is unavoidable. The grouting is slightly off white. I cleaned the grouting every week but could not return the grouting to the original brand new appearance it had before we moved in. He feels this is unacceptable and I have to return the grouting to the original brilliant white state. I feel he is now being completely unreasonable. I have met his other demands but feel this is a step too far. Any suggestions?

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That definitely sounds like fair wear and tear to me. Is there an extractor fan in the bathroom? Did you use it every time you used the bathroom?

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Yes there is an extractor fan in the bathroom. It comes on automatically when you switch the light on and therefore was used every time. You would have to scrutinise the tile grouting to see the discolouration. It is not noticable otherwise.

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I think your LL is just being very picky, you gave in too quickly and so stand firm now, start Small Claims for YOUR money back.

My LL came to do annual inspection recently, noticed a small spot of slight discolouration on the ceiling, found it was a minor long term leak from a shower and resealed and grouted the entire shower. No upset, no charges, no aggro - how it should be. That said I rent from a large regional house builder not a BTL muppet.

Edited by 2112

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Unless the extremely high standards of cleanliness that your landlord requires are clearly specified in your tenancy agreement than it is unreasonable of him to demand them.

This has been tested in the small claims courts before; a good "spring cleaning" of the property is all that is generally required.

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I sued my landlady a few years ago for withholding my deposit, made about £300 profit too.

Steps I took:

1. Discuss with Citizens Advice Beurau

2. If they think you have a case follow their advice on taking it to court.

3. In your dossier take witness accounts of the state of the place:

- when you found it

- when you left it

My old landlord was a good mate, my new one was a relative, they both gave written accounts of the before and after scenarios.

4. Turn up to court (having sent your dossier to the judge and the defense [not 100% sure if this is obligatory]). My landlady was so knocked back that I went through with it she failed to turn up to court, bad move, the judge awarded me maximum damages - even expenses for a 3 litre car - judges dont like people snubbing them.

I made it clear to judge I was doing this out of principal - a deposit should not be seen as additional income for landlords, he fully agreed and that was that.

Landlords do this all the time because they dont expect you to pursue the matter, do so at your peril.

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Yes there is an extractor fan in the bathroom. It comes on automatically when you switch the light on and therefore was used every time. You would have to scrutinise the tile grouting to see the discolouration. It is not noticable otherwise.

I think you should definitely take him to the small claims court.

If he is seriously witholding your deposit because the grout in the bathroom is not white enough the magistrate will fall off his chair laughing.

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I have to return to the property tomorrow to repair the laminate floor. I have bought a laminate repair kit with a wax crayon which apparently fills any scratches. If this does not work, am I liable to repair the whole floor? He has said it cost £600 to lay. He is witholding my £900 deposit until it is fixed. I also have to replace and fit a mirror which fell off the wall when it was being cleaned (it was fixed poorly to the wall in the first place which the landlord admitted at the time). The mirror has chipped at the bottom corner. He has told me I have to take off the original brackets that are screwed to the wall and put the new one up myself. When I said I did not feel I could do this, he told me he would 'show me how to do it'. Am I entitled to ask for some of my deposit back until this is fixed as I am sure any outstanding repairs does not justify keeping my whole £900. Any advice? If I do not get ALL my money back once these repairs are finalised then I will pursue a claim in the small claims court.

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I have to return to the property tomorrow to repair the laminate floor. I have bought a laminate repair kit with a wax crayon which apparently fills any scratches. If this does not work, am I liable to repair the whole floor? He has said it cost £600 to lay. He is witholding my £900 deposit until it is fixed. I also have to replace and fit a mirror which fell off the wall when it was being cleaned (it was fixed poorly to the wall in the first place which the landlord admitted at the time). The mirror has chipped at the bottom corner. He has told me I have to take off the original brackets that are screwed to the wall and put the new one up myself. When I said I did not feel I could do this, he told me he would 'show me how to do it'. Am I entitled to ask for some of my deposit back until this is fixed as I am sure any outstanding repairs does not justify keeping my whole £900. Any advice? If I do not get ALL my money back once these repairs are finalised then I will pursue a claim in the small claims court.

Why jump through any more of this idiots hoops? Small Claims Court. It's YOUR money and he's trying to steal it from you. You can win this one so easily. You just need to have the balls to see it through.

Look at it like this; For every hour you give to satisfy his every whim is your valuable time. He's not only trying to steal your money - but your time too. Would you cut his grass all summer, if he promised to give you, YOUR money back?

Clangnuts

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