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Fair wear and tear?


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Hi guys, first posts here, I've read a few posts about unfair deposit deductions and thought I'd make my own post for some clarity.

 

I have recently moved out of a flat where I lived for the past 18 months with my girlfriend.

 

We left the flat in good condition, aside from a chip in the wash basin in the bathroom, which we attempted to repair (if only to buy the landlord some time before having to replace it for new tennants) but we admitted and accept we will be charged for it.

 

Upon emailing the landlord to tell him that we'd handed the keys back to the letting agent and completed a full clean of the property including professional carpet cleaners, I gave him our forwarding addresses and asked if there were any additional issues following his inspection the day after we left.

 

He said that the laminate wood floors (which are present throughout the 1 bed flat apart from the bedroom) have "small impressions" (his words) all over them, from high heels.

 

The floor in the flat is 6 years old and has been occupied for 5 years. As far as we can remember there was an inventory but we didn't sign it, and we're also sure that no mention of the state of floor in it, and we believe that the floor was beginning to show the signs of wear that 3 years walking on it can do when we signed up.

 

There was no specification as to how strong the floor is, nor any measures taken by the landlord to prevent us from walking in the flat with shoes on (for example a protective mat at the door). Indeed such is the design of the flat, that to avoid making any marks at all would mean removing our footwear before getting in the front door, which surely isn't practical?

 

Basically he wants to charge us 1/4 of the full price to replace 100% of the floor, which I think is totally unreasonable.

 

Would this not be classed as fair wear and tear, such as a worn carpet?

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In short- yes.

Inspection after you've left is irrelevant.

No inventory upon exit = landlord has no evidence of the state of the property at the expiry of the tenancy.

Write to the agents and ask for a copy of an original entry inventory. Use SAR if necessary.

Write to the landlord. Explain about wear and tear - template letter is available in http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/residential-commercial-lettings/117572-unfair-deposit-deductions.html#post1188882 and in-depth info about wear and tear can be found here: Dealing with disputes, damages and deposits

Check the sticky thread about TDS too; would it apply?

[sIGPIC][/sIGPIC]

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Thanks for the reply

 

TDS whouldn't apply as we signed up for the flat in June 2006.

 

The landlord visited the flat while we were there just after we'd cleaned most of it and moved a lot of our stuff, he didn't mention the floor at all, it was only after we'd left, but yea, I'm pretty sure there was never a signed inventory.

 

As a first step we have asked him to provide us with a summary of the charges he wishes to deduct, as well as an inventory signed by us.

 

We will then formally request that he return the deposit minus whatever we agree to.

 

Should he refuse and insist on the proposed payment for the floor we plan to file against him.

 

Does this sound like a fair approach?

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Good plan.

As for the TDS; has the tenancy been formally renewed after April 07?

Any witnesses of the landlord's last visit?

Ask the landlord also for invoice/receipt for the floor when brand new (to establish when was it laid, but dont tell him that)

[sIGPIC][/sIGPIC]

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The tenancy had not been renewed, no. He did call us in June 07 to see if we planned on staying in the property, we said yes - aslong as the rent stayed the same. He agreed and told us about the scheme, and needed to come up and sign some docs with us (he lives in Coventry and us in Sheffield), he never came up though, infact no inspection was ever done on the property between our moving in date and moving out date (June 06 - Jan 08).

 

He won't have laid the floor as it's a newish apartment (2002) and the floor will be the original, so I know already that it's nearing 6 years or so, and the landlord tells me that it's been occupied since April 2003, so coming up to 5 years.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi, a very similar situation has happened to me. My landlord is claiming 25% of the costs of replcing wood flooring because of high heels indentations throughout the flat. Unlike Kendall, there is a check in and out inventory, and it is clear that I have left the marks.

 

It's difficult to find any guidance on this specific point on the net although I have read most of the guiding principles, i.e. you need to look at the quality of the supplied item and any extenuating circumstances. I am hoping to argue that if the wooden flooring cannot withstand shoe marks, then it is not suitable for laying out in a flat, and a tenant should not have to contribute to the cost of indendations done whilst using the flat in an ordinary way and tenantlike manner. To reiterate a point already made, surely, you are not expected to remove your shoes before you enter your flat? Is a tenant liable for this kind of damage or is it fair wear and tear?

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As you say, it is difficult to find any guidance of this sort, but as a landlord I would say it is fair wear and tear. There is no expectation to remove shoes in either a tenancy agreement or in legislation. I would say that the only way to be sure on an issue like that would be to get a judgement on whether it would be considered "damage" or not.

Personally, in your position i would sue for the return of your deposits less any admitted damage.

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What's even more difficult to figure out is where your lease does not grant you a "fair wear and tear exception". My lease provides that I should "Keep the interior of the Property (including but not limited to all doors windows skylights locks hinges bolts ceilings floors and water pipes) and all fixtures and fittings therein in the same good clean state and condition and repair as it as set out in the attached Schedule of Condition (damage by accidental fire or other risk insured against by the Landlord only excepted)". This would suggest I must bear the cost of fair wear and tear, even where the floor is obviously not doing its job, which seems unfair. Not sure about your point regarding whether or not the indentations would in fact constitute damage - even ordinary use of a fixture or piece of equipment may result in damage, and that would be so even if that fixture or equipment is defective. From what I have read, my case does not sound too promising for beacuse I do not have a fair wear and tear exception so it seems that the risk of any damage so caused shifts to me rather than the landlord. I understand that in the absence of an express covenant to the contrary, a fair wear and tear exception would be implied in favour of the tenant... so presumably the moral here is be very careful what you sign.

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Fair wear and tear need not be a clause written into an agreement. A LL cannot withhold any of the deposit for anything that could be construed as "fair wear and tear". But I think at the end of the day this would be something that would have to be decided on by a judge as to whether the indents in a floor caused by heels can be construed as damage or FWAT.

I agree with what you say regarding the fact that if the floor cannot withstand heels then it is unsuitable for the purpose.

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