How do deposit schemes calculate fair wear and tear?

Question

How do deposit schemes calculate fair wear and tear? My tenant has left my carpet looking not too clever and I think there’s scope for a deposit deduction, but I don’t want to go through the process if there’s no chance of being successful.

Answer

Flooring takes a real bashing in any property, and along with soft furnishings is the most likely element of your property to show signs of the harshest wear and tear – however, this isn’t just the case in a rental property, it’s a familiar story in every home up and down the country!

In order to get a rough idea whether your carpet has undergone ‘fair wear and tear’ or taken more of an unfair beating, you should start by assessing the quality and condition of the item at the start of the tenancy. Your inventory should help with this. Remember, your tenant is not required to pay for any damages that would have occurred to the property through natural use, or by leaving the property in a less-than-perfect condition if it was less-than-perfect in the first place.

Most deposit schemes put a five-year life span on items like decoration, carpets and soft furnishings, so if your carpet is up to five years old and has been damaged to the extent it needs replacing, you may be able to claim up to 60% of the cost of replacement. Ascertain how old the carpet is and how many years ‘life’ it had left in it at the beginning of the tenancy.

Take into account the type of tenant you have in the property. You do have to expect some damage to carpet, and be realistic about how much. If your tenant is a single person living on their own you would expect far less damage than if you have a family with three small children and a dog!

Remember, if you do take the issue to dispute, the more evidence you are able to provide the better. Keep your receipts for any purchases made for the property, if you have to have any professional cleaning carried out make sure invoices are descriptive, and ensure that your inventory is as detailed as possible and contains plenty of dated images.

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