Internal Maintenance

Hi everyone, my tenants have been with me for almost 2 years. I understand that maintenance and repairs are my responsibility, but does that extend to internal decoration and carpets? Almost all of the walls have marks and minor damage and most carpets have stains. The property had a full refurb with new carpets before my tenants moved in. Can I insist that they repaint and fit new carpets assuming that the staining cannot be removed? Also the oven, hob and hood, (the kitchen and appliances were also new), looks like it has never been cleaned and is covered in food and grease. I know I can’t tell people how to live, but surely there must be some sort of ‘duty of care’ upon the tenants? Any help and suggestions will be gratefully received. Many thanks.

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Good luck with getting tenants to clean your oven. Dont supply a cooker in future and take out the hob. They can supply their own.

Thanks Colin, sound advice. Any thought’s on maintenance of decoration and floor coverings? Thanks again.

“walls have marks and minor damage and most carpets have stains” is typical of everyday use, so comes under fair wear and tear. You need to define damage: if trivial, like a picture hook hole in the wall, ideally the tenant should fill it, but if bigger, as if someone punched the wall or furniture damaged the plaster, the tenant is liable. Carpet stains will occur in normal use, but if it is unsightly and clearly the result of an accident, then the tenant is liable for its cleanup and repair if needed or replacement if extensive. This is my understanding of tenancy law, having spent days recently double checking this topic.
As for the cooking devices and the general state of the property, the tenants are expected to clean up and leave it in a good condition, taking account of fair wear and tear, if the tenancy agreement states so.
I am currently renting in an apartment block. Whenever any one leaves, the apartment is always redecorated, possibly to maximise interest in it. Usually, the carpets are replaced to! But then, I am in Australia, so I have no idea what is ‘normal’ in the UK as I have never rented in the UK. The laws here are similar to those in the UK, probably based on and improved on those in the UK.
I hope this helps.

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Hi John, thanks for your reply. My AST mentions damage, but one persons damage is another’s wear and tear? So who pays to remedy the ‘fair wear and tear’? I guess I’ve just got tenants that don’t care or know how to look after their environment. I think in the future, one of my pre-screening questions will be, do you own and know how to use a hoover ? and possibly things like, If you get marmite (veggie mite in Australia) and your fingers, do you
A. lick them?
B. Wash them?
C. Wipe them on the walls?
…Yes, a little extreme, but I think you get my point?

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kitchen floor coverings are the worst for me. I use vinyl but if they are carless moving ina cooker or washing machine it can tear so I offer to move these in for them. I have a trolley and am more careful. I always use 8mm underlay and a £4 sq metre carpet .I fit myself . I am a joiner. Works for me. Local carpet shop has had a lot of orders off me, so get a good price. I dont use laminate as that takes longer to fit

Hi. We are in a similar situation. New refurb and tenants just simply don’t look after something that they haven’t had to work years for. They get given a new house for a week’s wage.
Based on my own limited experience the best you could probably get off the DPS if it went that far is the cost of a general clean and carpet clean. Good luck.

Carpets are deemed replaceable after 3 years. If they were chemically cleaned or new at the start of the tenancy then at the end they should be cleaned. Most people create Mark’s and stains etc it’s just normal living so you cant insist its cleaned mid tenancy. Just always make sure you have a good check in agent

Hi john41 " carpets are deemed replaceable after three years" Where does that come from? I have not heard of this before. Is it from the carpet makers?

Hi
Its typically what the deposit protection agencies will rule if there is a dispute between landlord and tenant over damage to carpets (e.g. stains etc).

That is plainly stupid. Means that they say a carpet is only good for three years. Next we will be going back to bare floor boards. That view can only push up rents.

That is not correct. I had it from the horses mouth, a judge in a claim case, that carpets and decor were deemed to be requiring renewal on a 5-7 year cycle, at the landlords costs, and claims were reduced proportionately according the period in use, i.e. 3 years occupancy would achieve a 50% reduction in the claim for damages, irrespective of the cause. In my situation he even applied it to nicotine damage, even though I have strict rules in my TA excluding such damage and odours from being considered normal wear & tear. What these judges fail to understand is that the property cannot be relet in that state for the remaining 3-4 years of the life of the decor and carpets, because the previous tenant has ruined it.

Tenants simply do not care, as they can walk away virtually penalty free from their slovenly existence in your property. My longest period in one house was 14 years, we gave it a very light refreshing in decor and never needed to even shampoo clean the carpets in all that time, certainly never replacing.

Unfortunately this problem comes with the territory of renting, better to assume nobody will ever look after the property as well as you / the homeowner would.

We used to insist on carpets being shampoo cleaned on vacation, for simple common sense hygiene reasons, but my letting agent advises me this can no longer be a requirement / enforced. We found a very good carpet cleaner for £20/room, better simply add this cost along with the new, ridiculous, fees ban costs onto your rent for new tenancies.

Unfortunately some bad landlords and avaricious agents have ruined the business sensibilities of property letting, culminating in an overzealous government regime of unreasonable and enfair legislation. In the old days of tenants paying for their own referencing, we got far less time wasters, and with more realistic deposit levels we got far more tenants willing to leave a property as they found it.

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I found that laminate flooring tends to be more durable and serviceable, and actual damage / neglect can be clearly identified and attributed to the tenant.

Even in severe nicotine damaged properties, the laminate flooring could be cleaned and retained.

Another piece of advice, don’t ever install wool or wool mix carpets. We had a very good supply of remnants in our area of really good quality 100% or 80/20 wool carpets and, thinking they would enhance the quality feel of our properties, installed them everywhere. BIG mistake, as slovenly tenants, installing pets against the terms of their contract and bringing in infected clothes and furniture, created years of aggravation dealing with carpet moth infestations.

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I agree. I’ve have this situation occur 3 times. One tenant left her iron on the carpet (burning it!)…who the hell does their ironing on the floor?! I was told the to prove the age of the carpet, which I did and was told its had its day! Tenant was not charged. This is why now I put the cheapest carpet in there!

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Interesting…although mine did not go to court.

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on Merseyside theres a great carpet place £5 a sq yd Landlord £4 Grey I have used loads of it and i fit Myself Buy the gear , be confident, It may not be as good as a carpet fitter but its quite good and clean. Grey is the colour

Hello Alex
This situation is soul destroying. Legally wear and tear is your responsibility, but not staining and lack of care. Could you not have picked this up on your regular inspections so perhaps it didn’t get as bad as you are explaining? I’ve found if tenants decorate you can end up with more mess (splattered carpets etc). Surely a good deal of the dirt and damage you speak of will be covered by their deposit as it seems above and beyond the wear and tear threshold. Possibly speak with your deposit insurer to either get their views or at the last resort open a dispute with the insurance company.

Hi Jacqui, thank you for taking the time to post a reply. Yes, it certainly is soul destroying. My wife and I have provided a warm, clean and modern house, that we would be proud to live in ourselves, but it doesn’t seem to be appreciated? Other landlords that we know in the area seem to be jealous that we are actually getting the rent paid! Yes, inspections have been made every 3 months and promises to clean and tidy are never honoured. My understanding is that a claim against the deposit (which is with the DPS) can only be made once the tenancy had ended and as they’ve been there 2 years, the DPS will probably put it down to wear and tear? My landlord insurance covers the building, not contents, and I believe that carpets etc come under contents? We spent £15,000 renovating this property and although you should approach renting with a business head, it becomes very personal when you’ve used your dead mother’s money to do it. I got a text yesterday from my tenants, asking if I could repair the front room window which was damaged by storm Dennis this past weekend. When I called and spoke to them they said the outer pane of the double glazing had cracked? Upon further investigation, a very good neighbour, who lives opposite, informed that on Sunday evening, there had been a rather heated argument between my tenants, that at one point, had spilled out onto the street. The chap was seen to punch the window, when his girl friend opened it to hurl abuse at him. The police also attended as he had made death threats against her. When I confronted them, they denied this. I spoke to my insurer, who informed me that malicious damage by tenants was not covered. So yet again, it down to me, and if I don’t replace the window, I’ll probably get a threatening letter from the council or Shelter reminding me of my legal obligations to maintain the property in a fit and proper state, whilst the Government are trying to give tenants more powers to use against us greedy, grasping landlords !!!

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If they caused excessive dirt and stains on the carpets, you can deduct repair or renewal costs from the deposit. Marks on the walls, unless massive, is just wear and tear. Ask them to clean the oven properly with oven cleaner, supply it if you have to. Remind them politely in writing of their AST obligations. If they ignore your requests, then move them on and change tenants.

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Alex it does not do to splash out too much on kitchen units,. bathroom etc. It will NOT be looked after in the manner you would look after it. I put in a white suite £240. B and q units Worktop from timber yard. £35 for 3metres. these are items that can run away with your money if not careful. I join units with aluminium strip. Leave space for them to put in a fridge, cooker and washing machine

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