17:02 PM, 6th March 2012, About 12 years ago
The good news for landlords that tenancies are getting longer, may well be tempered by the warning from the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks that it create an increase in fair wear and tear disputes.
The average length of a tenancy has crept up by one month every year for the past three years and now sits at an average of 19.3 months. Without a real definition, fair wear and tear disputes may have to include a wider range of landlord tenant issues.
With common ground between a tenant and landlord’s expectations of fair wear and tear unlikely to be found, The AIIC stress checks should be done by an independent expert.
Pat Barber, Chair of the AIIC comments: “Normal wear and tear is a fact of life with rental properties, just as it would be at home, but if landlords and agents wish to avoid the hassle of arguments over who is responsible for damage, prepare a thorough inventory of the condition of the property that details the condition of everything in it. And since a detailed inventory is designed to protect both the landlord and the tenant, it is not unreasonable to suggest splitting the cost of having one professionally prepared.
“Obviously, there is a distinct difference between fair wear and tear and actual damage – for example carpet tread will flatten over time, where there has been foot traffic, but cigarette burns, stains or soiling will require a charge.”
“The best way to avoid costly deposit disputes is to ensure you have a comprehensive inventory in place at the start of any new tenancy and that a thorough check-in and check-out report is completed. Members of the AIIC are experts in assessing fair wear and tear and have the knowledge and experience to take into account all factors and make a reasonable judgement as to whether something is fair wear and tear or not.”