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Katrin

Fair Wear And Tear?

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I've lived in my flat for 18 months. The cream carpets and walls were slightly grubby when I moved in, and over the course of the time I've lived here I've occasionally spilled a cup of coffee and mopped it up, trailed in a bit of mud or grease on my shoes, etc. I've borrowed a carpet cleaning machine and washed the carpets, they look OK but the landlord is still moaning about where there are a few stains that won't come out (some of which were on the carpet before I moved in). I've wiped the walls down with a cloth and they look OK but still slightly grubby. Does my landlord have the right to insist on money towards new carpets or redecoration? What's classed as fair wear and tear?

In addition to this, last year I shook a pen and tiny ink spots flew onto the emulsioned wall in the bedroom. When I rubbed off the ink I also rubbed off small spots of paint, so one area of the wall has some lighter coloured spots. Is this fair wear and tear or am I liable for redecoration costs? Considering I've lived here for 18 months and the walls were grubby when I moved in, and the previous tenant lived here for a year, how much of the redecoration costs would I be liable for, if any?

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I've lived in my flat for 18 months. The cream carpets and walls were slightly grubby when I moved in, and over the course of the time I've lived here I've occasionally spilled a cup of coffee and mopped it up, trailed in a bit of mud or grease on my shoes, etc. I've borrowed a carpet cleaning machine and washed the carpets, they look OK but the landlord is still moaning about where there are a few stains that won't come out (some of which were on the carpet before I moved in). I've wiped the walls down with a cloth and they look OK but still slightly grubby. Does my landlord have the right to insist on money towards new carpets or redecoration? What's classed as fair wear and tear?

In addition to this, last year I shook a pen and tiny ink spots flew onto the emulsioned wall in the bedroom. When I rubbed off the ink I also rubbed off small spots of paint, so one area of the wall has some lighter coloured spots. Is this fair wear and tear or am I liable for redecoration costs? Considering I've lived here for 18 months and the walls were grubby when I moved in, and the previous tenant lived here for a year, how much of the redecoration costs would I be liable for, if any?

when are you planning to move out?

Your deposit is not under the TDS scheme so it is at risk. In my opinion as a landlord I would expect the carpet to have no new stains even if the carpets were grubby with wear when you moved in, I would be tempted to rent a "rug master" from homebase, they are cheap and more effective than a DIY cleaner. They tend to view carpets as having a 10 life span, so if the landlord is feeling un-generous they are likely to try and charge you 18 months/10 years of the cost of replacement.

The walls are a pain and splattering ink on them is a bit silly, either take the hit or get a match pot and try to cover it over, again cheaper than the LL getting the decorators in.

Putting my tenant hat on, don't pay the last months rent and see if the LL can be bothered to take you to court, if he does, do a deal before it gets there, a court case can go either way if there is some real evidence

There is a lot of debate about fair wear and tear (btw an LL can offset 10% of the annual rent aganist FW&T = less tax) but new stains, cigarette burn, tears etc. are not considered FW&T. Paint work is a little different, if it is obvious the tennat has not looked after the place then fair enough, but it is hard to prove.

Edited by Matt Henson

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I've lived in my flat for 18 months..........What's classed as fair wear and tear?

Normal, everyday use of something for which it was intended or designed. For example, buy an electric kettle in Argos and use it at home if it falls apart after two months expect your money back, use the same kettle in an office of fifty people and expect to get laughed out of court as a domestic kettle is not designed to be used in this way.

It's always best to avoid going to court: time-off work is expensive and stressful and you're gambling everything on one event, and to this end I would try and reach some sort of settlement with the landlord. Your landlord if they won a claim against you would only be entitled to damages which are quantified and proportionate.

The landlord is not entitled to betterment i.e. they are not entitled to new-for-old they are only entitled to damages which would put them back in the same position - if the carpet was five years' old when you damaged it, then they are only entitled to money to buy a five year old carpet - and even then only if you rendered it completely unusable. If the damage which you caused was only minor, does not impinge on its function as a carpet, and the judge thought it happened as part of normal usage the judge would tell them to bugger-off in any event.

Clean the carpet, re-touch the paint, and then offer (in writing) the landlord a small amount of money proportionate to the damage if he insists on pursuing the matter. Always head-up every letter 'without prejudice' and send it recorded delivery so you have proof of posting - it doesn't matter that you don't understand the significance of this now just do it anyway - you'll be glad you did later on.

If the landlord then insists on going to court you may well be awarded all the costs of the defence regardless of whether he wins his claim.

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  • 295 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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