Landlords and letting agents have been warned against tenants hoping to ‘game’ the system over reasonable wear and tear costs by the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC).
The AIIC has come out to claim that tenants are increasingly aware of the differences between fair wear and tear and legitimate damage. This makes it imperative that landlords and agents put procedures in place to ensure that they are able to make reasonable charges for genuine damage caused in a private rental property.
It is advised that landlords undertake thorough referencing procedures and compile an inventory of items in the property. Landlords should also maintain good contact with tenants.
The claims follow a recent YouGov survey of 2,000 tenants for TheHouseShop.com, which revealed that many tenants would not accept responsibility for property damage, 33 per cent of those in the buy to let sector would not tell their landlords if they had done significant damage to their properties. 17 per cent would instead hire a professional to make repairs whilst 15 per cent would attempt to fix the damage alone.
AIIC chair Patricia Barber commented: ‘The majority of private tenants do report issues to their landlords [but] the third failing to do so still represents a high proportion and could have financial implication for landlords. Tenant referencing increases the prospects of securing ‘good’ tenants in the first place, while an inventory provides you with the evidence you need to make a deduction from the tenant’s deposit.’
A clear way to prevent issues in the first place is ensuring a positive landlord-tenant relationship, which means that reminders to tenants regarding the state of the property are more likely to be well received. Barber continued: ‘Issues that are left unattended for long periods could deteriorate and cost more in the long-run. So, reminding tenants of their responsibility to report problems could certainly save landlords money over the course of a tenancy.’