An article published by propertyreporter earlier this month questioned whether landlords have unrealistic expectations at the end of tenancies.

This all relates to the concept of ‘betterment’, where although tenants have an obligation to leave the property in the same condition as they found it at the beginning of their tenancy, the law will not allow landlords to claim for a better item than what was originally present.

For example, if a settee is listed as having a few scuffs or a stain or two at the beginning of the tenancy, a landlord cannot claim for a whole new settee, in perfect condition, if there is just slightly more wear and tear at the end of the tenancy.  However, if there is irreparable damage such as cigarette burns; they may be entitled to damages.

The issue here is where there are different views on what fair wear and tear is and what should actually be classed as real damage.

How to avoid a landlord and tenant dispute

  • Firstly, make sure that the check-in inventory covers everything that could possibly be damaged or broken.
  • Ensure that the inventory is communicated to and signed by your tenant, in order to agree the state of the relevant property at the start of a tenancy.
  • Have a thorough check-out report, which is completed at the end of the tenancy.  This should directly relate to the items listed on the original check-in inventory.

Wear and tear is inevitable when renting a property and of course, deposits are usually put in place to cover certain damages.  However, disputes over whether deposits should be returned and whether damages should be paid can be avoidable in many cases, with the right advice and organisation.