It should be accepted that carpet tread will flatten over time resulting in darkened areas where there has been foot traffic/wear. There is also the possibility of heavy discoloration resulting from dust being blown up through the floor or from under skirting boards. Stains or soiling caused during the tenancy will require a cleaning charge. However, because of the rules of "Betterment" if the carpets were not freshly cleaned at the start of the tenancy the tenant will only be liable for a proportion of the charge, subject to the degree of staining/soiling.
Damage to a carpet, e.
g cigarette burns, animal damage, heavy staining, excessive wear, will require compensation. However, this will not necessarily be the full cost of replacing the carpet.
The level of compensation will be determined by:
• The Manufacturers recommended life expectancy.
• The quality of the carpet and the underlay or sub flooring.
• The age of the carpet prior to the tenancy.
• The condition the carpet was in at the start of the tenancy.
• The expected traffic during the tenancy.
• The location and number of occupants.
• Any extenuating circumstances.
When an animal has been allowed during the tenancy the carpets should always be professionally cleaned. Domestic cleaning is normally not sufficient to de-odourise or prevent infestations.
The quality of laminate/wood flooring varies considerably, which reflects on its life expectancy. However, regardless of quality it should be accepted that there will be minor marks and scuffs, that joints may open or crack with movement, or small pieces may lift.
Good quality hardwood engineered laminate will have a high life expectancy and, therefore, will require higher compensation should there be excessive marking or damage.
Inexpensive laminate is often soft wood, or not wood at all. This has a much lower life expectancy, and will also be prone to the "stiletto heel syndrome". This would normally be considered to be fair wear and tear, but account would be taken of location and degree of marking.
Laminate flooring is not suitable for use in bathrooms or kitchens, unless a specialist waterproof version has been used. If water penetrates the joints it tends to swell and the top surface blister and lift. This would be considered wear and tear.
Vinyl flooring has similar problems to inexpensive laminate as regards indents, small nicks, scuffs etc. It is also prone to tearing around machines that vibrate when used. However, there are also issues with the sub floor affecting the life expectancy. There may also be an issue with damp or water getting under the flooring and not being able to dry off. Whether this would be considered fair wear and tear would depend on location.
Fabrics – Curtains, blinds and upholstery:
An independent inventory clerk will usually recommend that carpets and curtains be cleaned - at the tenant's expense, after a 12 month, or longer, tenancy - if professional cleaning was carried out at the start of the tenancy. If these were not cleaned at the start of the tenancy only a proportion of the charge will be recommended, depending on the degree of soiling.
However, most fabrics, regardless of quality, will age prematurely if cleaned too frequently. Therefore, we recommend that professional cleaning be carried out at the owner's discretion.
When an animal has been allowed to reside in the property during the tenancy it is strongly recommended that professional cleaning, and sometimes fumigating, of all curtains and soft furnishings be carried out in addition to cleaning carpets.
Appliances and Small electrical goods:
The life expectancy is that recommended by the manufacturers. Tenants would not be responsible for charges to service or maintain the appliance. If the appliance fails because of normal usage this would be considered fair wear and tear.
However, damage caused by misuse, storing elsewhere, or soiling is not considered to be fair wear and tear.
Gardens and regular maintenance:
It is usual for the landlord to be responsible for the control of trees and shrubs, as pruning or maintenance of these items may need specialist knowledge. If the tenant is to be responsible for shrubs and hedges it should be made clear on the agreement, and it is strongly recommended that a gardener be instructed.
This was the condition of a garden at check in. The tenants were only obligated to leave it in the same condition the end of the tenancy - which they did. The landlord could not expect betterment in these circumstances.
The tenant is expected to mow the lawn on a regular basis, and to maintain flower beds and to keep them weed free, consistent with the season.
A tenant is not normally responsible for the death of living plants, and would not be expected to replace bedding plants. However, if their specific action has caused the damage, this may be considered excessive wear and tear, e.g. dead areas of lawn caused by sheds, damage caused by play equipment and trampolines.
Normal weather soiling to paths, patios etc is considered fair wear and tear, including marks left by planters on paving - unless the landlord has evidence that these areas were professionally jet washed prior to the tenancy. The tenant should ensure, however, that paths and patios are swept, and furniture cleaned.