Reasonable wear and tear?

Our tenants are leaving after 3.5 years. They’ve been good tenants, always communicated any issues well, paid rent on time, etc.

The sofa in the flat was 3 years old when they started their tenancy. It is a beige microfibre fabric and the inventory shows it had some marks around the seams from wear.

We are yet to do our exit inventory but I noticed when conducting viewings that the sofa is covered in stains. It mostly looks like water marks and stains from new jeans. It doesn’t look like it is possible to clean and will very likely need replacing.

What is a reasonable deposit deduction, assuming the sofa is left in the same state I saw at the viewings? The sofa is now nearly 7 years old. Buying a like-for-like replacement will cost £400-£500. The stains do seem to be over and above reasonable wear and tear. I’m thinking something like 10% of the replacement value? I don’t like picking numbers out of thin air, but it’s a very subjective area.

I dont see after all that time how you can charge anything. Unless you put a proposal to them and they agree to a sum of money. Subjective is the word.

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Hi Samantha, if you believe the sofa has been damaged (as opposed to merely suffered from wear and tear), then you can ask to deduct some money from the deposit. As Colin says, if the tenant agrees, then that’s fine. Ask for whatever you think the value of the damage is and see if they agree. If they disagree, but you insist, then you may have to go to a deposit dispute (ADR).

ADR has its own criteria for assessing the correct amount to deduct for furnishings that are damaged, but not written off. I believe that they use estimate the damage done in terms of how it effects the expect lifetime of the furnishing. Obviously, they don’t share their criteria publicly, because then no one can argue with them when they make an adjudication…


Buy a new sofa. What else did you expect from 7 year old beige microfibre ?

7 years out of a beige microfiber sofa is good going. I’d cut my loses and get a new one, although you’d be surprised how much staining you can get out with a good quality carpet cleaner on them.

You know when you see posts from folk that give landlords a bad name ?



To be fair, we are accidental landlords. The sofa was our own for the first three years of its life, which is why I know what to expect after ~3 years of reasonable use. I was shocked to see the state of it. There are more than 5 stains that are the size of dinner plates. I’m not an unreasonable or bad landlord, and there’s no question that the sofa needs replacing. I was asking what, if anything, would be a reasonable deposit deduction. The consensus seems to be zero, which is fine, but some people on this forum are so bloody rude I wish I hadn’t bothered.

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just get rid of it and if you want to supply another one .,then get another second hand one. You then wont have a personal attatchment to it Personally I never supply furnishings, but there are many places selling decent second hand items

There’s no personal attachment, it’s just a sofa. We will replace it because the flat is advertised as furnished and I don’t really trust a tenant to bring in and out their own sofa without damaging the paintwork (it’s a very tight corner staircase).

How about I rephrase the question: say, hypothetically, a tenant accidentally threw a can of paint over a 7 year old sofa? The sofa clearly needs replacing, and the damage is clearly over and above reasonable wear and tear, but it is clearly unreasonable to expect the tenant to foot the bill for a new sofa, given the age of the old one. How would you go about putting a figure on the damage?

i suppose you look at what it would cost to replace with a decent s/h one… They probably would be more inclined to pay if you explained it would be s/h and thus much cheaper than a new. Know what you mean about a tight staicase.

I once had push-bike insurance that, in the event of theft, paid 10% less for every year of owning the bike. I.e. If I bought a new bike for £200 and it got nicked 8 years later, you’d get £40. I think something like this is fair, and I will be putting it in the inventory for our new tenants. The question is what is a reasonable lifespan of a sofa. I would have hoped 10 years, (making a ~£120 deduction for the tenants) but the consensus seems to be that that is unreasonable. I think I will put an expected lifespan of 8 years in the new inventory.

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In my world ‘nothing’ would be a fair deduction but then again I believe in being a good landlord and find it strange that somehow we always manage to find good tenants. The 2 go hand in hand.

We had a tenant in a furnished apartment from new. Furnished from Ikea and charged an extra £50 per month for furnished. After 3 years we dropped the extra £50 and gave him the furniture as we said he had almost paid for it by then.

He stayed another 4 years and when he left he asked if we minded if he left the heavier items like beds and wardrobes. All still in great condition.

All items were greatly appreciated by the new tenant who had nothing.

If you help people generally they will help you.

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Washable covers are available on some models of sofa which may be the answer to your problem now or when you purchase a new one.

I would be amazed and relieved if this was all that was all you found amiss!
I have found fantastic cheap sofas ( fire labels, like new) in the RSPCA emporium, and also for nothing on Freecycle. in fact I am sitting on a beautiful cream feather cushioned sofa right now. Was £1500 new, but free to me!
Surely this is the way we should all be going in this wasteful world, not buying cheap throw away stuff.
Or… As mentioned, recover the one you have.
The new tenant may want to bring their own anyway.

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