What is acceptable wear and tear on a rental property after 5 years?

I moved into a 2 bedroom flat under six months ago, taking over from a previous tenant but continuing to live with the other existing flatmate and hence taking liability for the condition of the flat. The original tenant had lived there since it was built almost five years ago and that was the last inventory check with the deposit just being transferred over each time. I was hoping someone would replace me on the tenancy or I'd live here longer but my flatmate now wants to hand in the notice and move out completely. 

Since being here I have noticed a lot of small issues with the flat but I'm not sure if they come under wear and tear or not. Now I'm worried I won't get my deposit back or be liable for further payments to cover these damages when I've barely had time to hang my coat.

Issues include -

- Big noticeable stain on one wall (size of a cushion)

- Marks on white walls (some painted over but a little patchy) and nail holes (tenancy states these are not allowed to be used on wall)

- Lots of small scratches on kitchen worktop and a few on induction hobs

- One bedside table has chipped wood from a spillage 

- Cupboard door wonky and doesn't close, issue with the hinge but screws don't work

Does this sound acceptable for almost five years? If not, what could we be charged? 

The tenancy also states damages should be made aware to the landlord before moving out but unsure if we should flag any of these.

Then there's the case of how we split the remainder of deposit...

10 Answers

  • 1 month ago

    Sometimes you have to learn the hard way.

    6 month is a long time and if you haven't photographed/documented/kept emails with photos or any other correspondence with the office about everything you noticed upon moving in, there is always a chance you'll be charged for it.

    The best you can do at this point is to request a move-out inspection check list of everything they'll be looking for and began preparing. 

    On a side note, the fact that you're renting with a flatmate and not aware of how the 5 year damage/deposit is going to be "split" between you two is beyond my comprehension. 

    Shady contracts pocket the most money, this is why I would advise never rent with a random person. Never know what the next one brings...

  • Maxi
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Stains, marks, spills, chips and scratches, nail holes are damage/lack of care/lack of cleaning so not wear/tear......... most can be resolved by cleaning, filling. painting and cleaning the rest you will be charged for

  • 1 month ago

    The stain on the wall and the nail holes can be easily taken care of. Both of those are simply maintenance that anyone can perform. the cupboard door was addressed in a previous question.  Small scratches on the kitchen worktop are sometimes acceptable, but can't usually be "fixed"; it really depends on the composition of the worktop.  Laminate, (Formica) worktops can't be repaired, wood can--tiles need to be replaced, but CAN be replaced most of the time. Stone or granite is not 'fixable'. So depending on how bad those are, you may need to pay for damage, replacement or simply repair. The bedside table?  I don't know--you didn't show any pictures detailing what the chipped wood looks like. A wood filler may fix it, or  may not. 

    Most of this stuff does sound like simple 'wear and tear' but it really depends on the extent of it. 

    You need to document all the issues, by taking photos and see if you can't hire a handyman or someone to help you with some of them. You can use Youtube or Google to find out about the wall stain and the nail holes if you don't know how to fix those. After a five-year tenancy, I would not consider most of these to be awful or outrageous damage--but it does sound like the previous tenant wasn't too careful. A simple cutting board would have prevented the scratches on the worktop, some spackle or plaster would fill in the nail holes, thorough cleaning would have gotten rid of the stain. Try negotiating about the deposit--if you didn't cause any of this damage you should not have to pay for it. 

  • 1 month ago

    ALL of that is damage, except likely the hinge on the cupboard door.  If the threading on the screw is stripped, then that needs replacing.  Then, the hinge can be adjusted so that the door will close.  It's a very minor thing and likely wear and tear.  It not uncommon.  The rest is damages.  You and your roommate will be responsible for all of that.  You cannot patch paint.  The whole wall will need to be painted.  You will be stuck with it all if you don't convince your roommate to pay for it, since you didn't cause it.  You may have to sue him.  Take good photos.  The sooner the better, because you would have to prove that they were there when you moved in.

    Source(s): Certified Paralegal, with 25+ years' experience & with Landlord & Tenant law experience.
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  • 1 month ago

    Most of those things are not wear and tear and it would be up to you to prove the damages were there when you moved in, to avoid paying for the repairs.  THere is a chance the landlord will just give you back some or all of your deposit, knowing this wasn't mostly your fault, but if he does then you are just out of luck.  I suggest just moving out and seeing what the landlord does. If he does charge you for stuff that you didn't do then you can complain and possibly take him to court but no sign this will happen.

  • R P
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    The only item you listed that is normal wear and tear is the problem with the cupboard hinges.

    Everything else is tenant-caused damage.

  • Tavy
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Buy paint and paint the walls. It will cost about £20. Fill in the nail holes with filler.

    Fix the cupboard door with a new hinge.

    Half hour in B&Q and a couple of hours it will look as good as new.

    There comes a time in life sunshine when you have to pull your finger out and not expect someone else to do it for you.

    No excuses B&Q are open in lockdown.

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    When I rented an apartment way back when, they told me nail holes were fine.  Not sure on the other stuff.

  • 1 month ago

    Stains, marks, nail holes, scratches and any other damage is never wear & tear.  Neither is damge caused by you spilling something. 

    The cabinet door would be wear & tear unless you actualy caused it. Many people lean on cabinet doors & cause damage. 

    How much you should be charged depends on what it costs to fix. 

  • 1 month ago

    Even if it is acceptable wear and tear the landlord is supposed to rectify it, just without charging the previous tenant who caused the reasonable wear and tear. If they haven't made it in good repair for you when you viewed it then you shouldn't have moved in.

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