The age-old argument between landlords and enters over who should pay for damage or wear-and-tear is still raging.
Unfair expectations from landlords and letting agents are leading them to demand compensation for minor scuffs and scratches, says the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC).
But in many cases, they are not entitled to the money because they should accept general wear-and-tear to a rented home.
In too many cases, says the AIIC, landlords are trying to gain from their tenants by making them pay for minor damage that is not their responsibility.
AIIC chair Pat Barber explained that landlords should accept general wear-and-tear as part of their business and should not ask tenants to pay for touching up paintwork or minor blemishes.
“That’s a legal concept called betterment,” she said. “If an item was in a property at check-in and is in slightly worse condition at check out, this is wear-and-tear.
“We have seen many cases where the landlord or letting agent has not bothered to read the check-in inventory, so when it comes to the check-out, they are unrealistic over issues, which they believe should be included in the check-out and charged to the tenant.
“In one case, we had a property where the landlord demanded that the tenants pay for repainting several rooms following a one year tenancy. The check-in inventory clearly stated that the walls were already well-marked and the few additional scuffs and rubs were clearly a normal wear-and-tear issue, due to the length of the tenancy.
“The best way landlords and agents can ensure that the property’s condition is fully recorded is by having a comprehensive inventory at the start of any tenancy followed up with a thorough check-out report.”
Barber also explained that wear-and-tear is judged on the merits of each tenancy as a family with children and pets is likely to inflict more wear on a home than a couple without children.