A new report has highlighted that 60 per cent of landlords don’t understand the ‘betterment principle’ while 90 per cent say they fully understand fair wear and tear....

A new report has highlighted that 60 per cent of landlords don’t understand the ‘betterment principle’ while 90 per cent say they fully understand fair wear and tear.

My Property Inventories survey revealed that landlords seem to be unaware of the principle which means if an item such as a carpet was old at check-in, the landlord can’t replace it with a new carpet, but some compensation is allowable towards the item.

Director of My Property Inventories, Danny Zane, said he finds that landlords and agents push for ‘new for old’ at the end of tenancies, and have unrealistic expectations of what they can claim against tenant deposits.

“The tenant has a duty of care to return the property in the same condition at the end of the tenancy, as at the start and listed on the inventory report, with an allowance for wear and tear. The law does not allow landlords to claim ‘new for old’ from the tenant deposit,” said Danny.

“The betterment principle applies to cleaning issues too.  If a carpet was stained and marked at the time of check-in, a landlord can’t expect the tenant to pay for carpet cleaning at the check-out, no matter how long the tenancy has been.  

“However, if the carpet was recorded in the un-bias inventory report at the start of the tenancy as clean, with accompanying photos and is found to be stained or marked at check-out, the cleaning costs can be deducted from the deposit.”

The survey also revealed that over 80 per cent of landlords said inventory evidence helped them to win a tenancy dispute but 60 per cent said they never visit their properties to check the condition with just 6 per cent saying they make regular spot checks.

“It is important to note that normal wear and tear is a fact of life within tenancies,” added Danny.

“The best way for landlords and agents to ensure that the property’s condition is fully recorded at the start of the tenancy, is by having a thorough and professional un-bias inventory, along with a detailed check-in and check-out report.”

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