To fix or not to fix is the question

I have a question for landlords. We are moving after a Section 21 as the landlord needs to move back into the property. This is amicable and we have no ill will. We were permitted a dog and paid extra monthly rent for the privelege. He was a rescue dog and our sole purpose in renting this dog friendly house was so we could rescue a dog.

When the dog first came to us, he had some behavioural issues which we have since got under control. However, during the first few weeks he scratched up a corner of carpet going up the stairs and chewed on 2 skirting boards. We then covered the stairs in a soft stair carpet padding and sanded and painted one of the skirting boards he chewed.

Now that we’re moving out we want to replace the carpet on the stair and the skirting boards he chewed. However, we are afraid we will make the replacements and the landlord will be unhappy with our choices or the completed job.

We don’t want to cause more damage by replacing the dog damage ourselves but we also feel bad leaving it to be covered by our deposit.

Do we tell the landlord in advance and ask her what she’d prefer we do? Or do we leave it for her to take from the deposit? Or do we replace before checkout inspection?

We don’t have a direct relationship with the landlord. She does everything through the letting agency.

Thanks for any advice.


You are very conscientious, this is great to see!

Simply speak with agent and they will consult with landlord and then you can come to an agreement.


Thanks Mark10! I appreciate your advice a lot. I think that’s the best way, I don’t want to upset the landlord as having to move back into the rental was never on her wish list, so I would hate to contribute towards a bad experience for her. I’ll reach out to the agent and update here, if anyone is interested in her reaction.


All the agent said was we have to leave the property the way we found it. We are going to fix and pray the landlord is happy.


I would repair the skirting board but unless the carpet was brand new when you moved in, you may be paying more than you need to. For example, if the carpet is now 10 years old, the LL could not reasonably charge you for it & if it is 5 years old they could only reasonably charge you for 50%.

In your shoes I would be inclined to leave the carpet & accept there will be a charge. What you want to avoid at all costs is paying for a new carpet & then being charged again by the LL because it is the wrong carpet!

If you leave everything else spotless, you may not get charged at all as your extra rent may have covered it.


Thanks for your advice, Tricia. We’d still like to replace the bottom stair carpet (it’s just 1 stair) as we did sign the agreement which stated we would make good any damage the dog did. This is damage the dog did.

We are seeking a carpenter to change the skirting boards as the agent said any work needs to be done by a professional. This is annoying me! LOL! It’s such a small job, finding a carpenter who can swing by to do it in the next 2 weeks is proving hard so far, although I did just put a request up on Bark today for a carpenter - I bet they all declined, it’s such a small job.

I’d hire a handyman but no guarantee they are considered to a professional level. I think we’re just afraid that the job won’t be perfect, and the landlady will go for the deposit anyway. She is very precious about the house, but it is HER home and she wants to move back into it, so we want to meet her expectation and leave it nice.

We just want to make the fixes, but are afraid to upset the landlady somehow. We honestly want to leave the property as we found it but hard to do without removing bad stuff and replacing it with new!

The agent has been no help really, just parroting the contract - but I guess what else can she do. She’s not given advice, just regurgitated the contract.

I am thinking worse comes to worse, we’ll leave the damage with apologies and our reasoning that we did not want to make anything worse by not hiring the right people who then do shoddy work, and happily agree with the Landlord to take it from the deposit. At least then if she hires someone and their work is less than 100%, she can go after them. If we hired and they did shoddy work, we could go after them but then she’d have to take possession of her property in a shape she’s not happy with. :frowning:

Sorry if I’m flipping back and forth here. We just want to do the right thing. Let’s see if we can find a professional :crossed_fingers:


The big problem with doing your own repairs is that any repair to skirting board that requires painting is going to make it very obvious next to the older painted woodwork & one stair of new carpet will be very difficult to match & you’d have to buy a lot more carpet than you need. You risk making both things worse than they are.

Honestly, I would leave things as they are & accept the the LL may raise a charge - which you can dispute if its unreasonable. She may not as she may want to replace things anyway.

Ensure that EVERYTHING else is perfect & don’t overthink these two areas.


Thank you Tricia. I would love to leave it and let her deal with it via deposit, but I just got an email from the agent stating the following:

The landlord is planning to move in the following day when you have vacated and will not have time to make good to the property so she has asked if you can arrange to make good on any holes in the walls, any damages or painting required ? We have a contractor who is very reasonable and may be able to assist you:

[private contractor details removed for post to openrent]

Please can you also ensure that the damaged carpet is replaced and all other carpets professionally cleaned?

We are paying for the carpets to be professionally cleaned, professional gardener, professional cleaner, now professional to replace skirting boards and carpet. Hopeful we get whole deposit back when the landlady moves in.

I told the agent I won’t make better any previous tenant damages as there were 2 damages the previous tenant left, a hole in the kitchen wall and a dog pee stain on one wall facing the kitchen, both are outlined in our check-in inventory. I’m not redecorating the whole place, wasn’t in our tenancy agreement. But, I will do my best to make things good for the landlady. I have told the agent, we are worried about things not matching so if the landlady doesn’t mind if it’s not 100% match, then we will do it. Waiting to hear back.

This is completely bizarre! It is not the tenants job to ‘make good’ any wear & tear they have caused in the property, or indeed to rectify any damage & to ask you to do so is unreasonable. Wear & tear is to be expected after any length of tenancy. The fact that she wants to move in the day after you leave is her problem not yours!

You cannot be asked to have the property professionally cleaned, only that it is cleaned to a professional standard - subtle difference.

I would be asking for guarantees that if you do as requested there will be no deductions from your deposit - in writing!

Make sure you have evidence of how you left the property & your inventory for move in - I have a feeling you may be going to the DPS with this one!


Hi Tricia, I think it’s bizarre the agent said this, too, especially since the agent didn’t even set expectations with the landlord that I will fix what dog damage there is, but that wear and tear won’t be rectified, including previous tenants damage.

I could clean the house myself, but I am paying someone else as I’m working full-time, so I want to clarify that as I think maybe I made it sound like she asked us to hire professional cleaners. Although the agent did send me links to 3 professional cleaners they use alongside the checkout appointment reminder, I chose my own via Bark and she’s quoting me tonight.

Professional gardener was my husband’s choice as well, due to the same time constraint factors. It’s easier to hire professional gardeners to do it for us, and for reasonable cost. Sorry if I’ve misled you in any way in that regard. I’m not explaining myself clearly.

But for the agent to say what she said, sounds like she wants us to redecorate the whole place and that won’t be happening. lol! I made it clear in my message back to the agent that I understand what my rights are under the deposit scheme and won’t be bettering wear and tear and replacing entire carpets, etc.

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I would not be happy if only one step was replaced with carpet as it won’t match up. You really need to get clear answers from LL. the timeframe is extremely short to get contractors. As someone else mentioned, how old was carpet? And what kind of state was it in? If it was in good condition, you may need to replace it all. But as you say holes in walls & dog pee already there, I’m guessing it’s not in a great state. I would never let a flat out with dog pee stains and holes in walls. It’s a tricky one! Good luck. I would be inclined to leave the carpet knowing a deduction will be made. You were very lucky to find a place that takes a dog!


Thank you Amy. The carpet is in good condition other than where our dog dug up the corner of the stair. The landlord has definitely said to the agent to replace that section. If we can’t find a good match then I may have to leave it. It’s proving difficult to find a last minute contractor to do this small job but still a week or so left. The holes are not big, but the damage wasn’t ours, we were glad to find a dog friendly place so we were willing to accept a few minor issues as the rest of the place was in good nick.
Praying we can find a professional to fix but if not we may have to leave it.

I would be honest with the landlord about the dog damage and ask them if they would like you to replace the carpet. They might have a specific make of carpet that they want to use. Always best to check with them first. It’s great that you want to return the property in tip top condition though.

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Thanks Alison, we’ve found a contractor to do the skirting and paint but nobody to do the 1 carpet stair. The landlady does everything via the property manager. I asked them to ask her what she wants and if she’s okay with us matching the carpet as close as possible. She said via the property manager just to set the stair set right. So we’re going to a local carpet place and ask them to fit as close as carpet as possible as independent contractors aren’t interested in our 1 stair replacement adverts I’ve put on Bark and Checkatrade.

We want to leave the property as we found it as per our tenancy agreement and we know the landlady will dispute the deposit if we don’t. It’s not the only reason we’re fixing it, but it is the only reason we’re hiring professionals and not doing it ourselves. We’ve done our own work at other properties we rented and landlords were always pleased on checkout inventory but with this landlady she wouldn’t have it. If we can’t show invoices she will dispute the deposit for sure.

Very expensive to fix all this but the deposit we will get back will cover it.

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This isn’t quite true. In a regular AST, the tenant is obligated to make good any damage to the Premises and fixtures and fittings (except for fair wear and tear) caused by the Tenant. The key here is “fair wear and tear”, which is of course subjective. In this instance, I’m of the opinion that this damage is not fair wear and tear, and should be rectified by the tenant to be as close to the condition reflected in the inventory report as possible. If the tenant is unable to do so, then it is fair that the deductions are made for LL to repair. However, I agree with others that the cost needs to take into account the age of the existing item and typical lifespan, i.e. LL cannot charge Tenant 100% replacement if the carpet was already old. Most deposit protection schemes would go by a similar calculation.


I agree with you Mita. As the tenant in question, we are making good damage we caused even though we are replacing at a higher cost than depreciated value under the deposit scheme calculations. We could have left it for the deposit scheme to decide but we don’t want to cause the landlady agro even though she took us off guard by giving us an S21. I don’t know that all tenants would. But it’s about our integrity and the golden rule. Some of us out here still follow it. It’s a good way to live with your conscience.


As landlords, we do appreciate tenants such as yourselves who value their integrity and take the initiative to fix things. On this forum and other places, you often hear only the negative things, so it’s nice to be reminded that there are conscientious tenants.

It’s also refreshing to hear the challenges you face when trying to secure tradespeople, obtaining reasonable quotes and satisfactory workmanship, avoiding the cowboys etc - I often struggle with this and often tenants have no idea how hard it is, so it can feel demoralising when I have tenants moaning at me that I’m unable to get a tradesperson to fix something straight away as it simply doesn’t work like that.

Just to be aware, sometimes the deposit (capped at 5 weeks) might not be sufficient to make good the damage, given the rising cost of labour and materials these days, so it’s great that you are doing this yourselves rather than leaving it to the deposit scheme. I hope your landlord is appreciative of you. Best of luck with your next property.



Nice to see a concerned Tennant about damages

My advice would be make good yourself if you can in a way you would be happy to move in to yourself without wanting anything changing

The reason the estate agent is asking you to make good is normally they are used to it being re rented so would expect it to be back in a rentable condition

So I would definitely not rely on the despots it’s not there for that it’s there for disagreement’s I wouldn’t be leaving a good reference for a tennat who left it in a unrentable condition and said just take it out the deposit that’s unfair

If a tennat raised this with me I’d even contribute myself if the carpet was old I would ask the estate agent to replay this info to the landlord and ask what the landlord’s response is they may just being lazy and not contacting the landlord this happens a lot and part of the reason I don’t use them anymore and use open rent


Great to see your attitude there, and it is a shame that the agent is being no help whatsoever, when what you really needed was to know what the landlord wanted!

This is one reason I prefer to work direct with tenants, I don’t think agents add any value.

I hope all goes well for you.


Thank you Mita, Harvey and Peter. Thank you for understanding how frustrating I find the agent. I really just wished to speak with the landlady.

I hope the landlady is pleased with the contactor work we’re doing and that she can move back in with no worries.

Our new place, we found it here on openrent and are very pleased with the family feeling we got from the landlord and his family member that’s helping with the tenancy.

We look forward to our new tenancy and pray to the rental gods that we get to stay for a long time! We don’t like moving and never would wish a S21 on any responsible tenant. It’s very disappointing to have to start again in a new rental.

One day we’d like to buy! But, we don’t have a down-payment on a mortgage, being a transplanted Canadian wife with a British husband in our mid 50s. Although I’ve been here 8 years and both of us have good jobs, all our extra funds went first to immigration and visa and achieving full leave to remain, then has gone to trips back to Canada to see family. Coming up with a deposit for a mortgage hasn’t been possible.

Now with the costs of this move, it’s set us back the little savings we had. We are very hopeful we can stay in this new rental and start building a savings again.

The S21 came at a bad time. But when would it ever be the right time, right? Thanks again!