Normal Wear and Tear? Common Costs Landlords Deduct from Your Deposit

How do you know what’s normal wear and tear or what could cost you money from your security deposit? Find all the answers you need here.

It’s no secret that London is one of the most expensive cities in the world. In most areas outside the city centre, the average rent can vary between $1500 and $1700. But in the heart of London, rent often exceeds $2100!

When a renter moves into a new flat, they’ll pay a tenant deposit on top of first month’s rent. Generally speaking, tenant deposits are usually the same as a month’s worth of rent.

Of course, renters can receive their deposits back when their tenancy ends. But what qualifies as normal wear and tear, and what can landlords deduct from a security deposit?

An average tenant deposit in London is a large sum of cash that most people can’t afford to lose. By understanding what a landlord can deduct from them, you can ensure that you’ll get yours back.

Here’s everything you need to know about tenant deposits and deductions!

What Qualifies As Fair Wear and Tear?

When the time comes to move out of a flat, one of the first things to cross a tenant’s mind is:

“Will I receive my tenant deposit back in full?”

Before a tenant moves out, their landlord will come to assess the property. They’ll then negotiate any deductions from the tenant deposit.

It’s worth noting that landlords are not entitled to compensation. A landlord simply cannot make improvements to their property at the tenant’s expense.

But they can receive compensation for damage that exceeds what’s known as fair wear and tear. What exactly qualifies as this?

Reasonable Damage

Minor smudges or scrapes on the wall can happen from natural occurrences. Faded carpets or paint happen overtime or from exposure to sunlight. Doors can stick from humidity.

These are some examples of what qualifies as reasonable wear and tear. And by law, landlords have to expect their tenants to make reasonable use of their property.

Landlords should provide information about when fixtures and carpets were last replaced. They should also provide information about when the walls were last painted. If something needs replacing due to age, it’s not the tenant’s responsibility.

Type & Length of Tenancy

The number of tenants and the length of tenancy are also important factors.

Let’s say two tenants have lived in the same flat for 3 years. The carpets are a few years old and have exceeded their lifespan. Now, the carpet has a minor tear from an adjacent door.

This is an example of fair wear and tear. Not only is the carpet in need of replacing due to its age. It’s reasonable considering the number of occupants and the length of their tenancy.

Wear and tear are also more likely in a property with multiple rooms and tenants. Landlords have to take this into account, as well as the types of tenants they’ve rented to. For example, it’s reasonable to expect more scuffs on the walls from a family with young children.

Excessive Tenant Damage

The laws of fair wear and tear are in place to protect both landlords and tenants. So, what can a landlord charge for when you move out?

Holes in the wall or cigarette burns on the carpet are not considered fair and reasonable damage. Landlords can deduct from deposits for damage caused by plants or animals. They can even penalize tenants for painting the walls with colours they did not approve of.

Here are some other examples of excessive tenant damage:

  • Broken windows caused by tenant or guests
  • Stolen appliances or items
  • Missing bathroom tiles
  • Doors broken off the hinges

Landlords will compare the condition of the property from the beginning to the end of a tenancy. They’ll deduct from your deposit if intentional and excessive damage has occurred.

This doesn’t mean that landlords can buy expensive items, renovate, or install additions. Repairs at the expense of the tenant must be in accordance with the damage they’ve caused. Items in need of replacing must be of the same value as when the tenant first moved in.

Unpaid Rent

What can a landlord charge for when you move out?

After cleaning costs, unpaid rent is the next leading cause of deposit deductions. Any time that a tenant owes money to a landlord, the landlord can deduct it from the deposit.

Some tenants may owe money to their landlords in addition to cleaning and repair costs. If the deductions exceed the value of the deposit, landlords can take tenants to court.

Cleaning Costs

Unfortunately, many tenants leave messes and damage that go beyond what’s considered reasonable. This is why cleaning costs often lead to most tenant deposit deductions.

So, how much can a landlord charge for cleaning?

This will depend on which type of cleaning services are necessary. Cleaning costs will also depend on how many rooms need cleaning, as well as how dirty they are.

It’s expected that there will be some cleaning necessary after a tenant moves out. But landlords can deduct from deposits to cover the costs of cleaning the following:

  • Carpet and curtain stains
  • Foul smelling carpets and curtains
  • Mould resulting from lack of cleanliness
  • Urine and faeces stains and smells from animals

Tenants aren’t responsible for making the property cleaner. But they are responsible for keeping a clean and tidy space.

It’s important that tenants take photos of the property before and after they move in. That way, they can dispute any deposit deductions for unreasonable cleaning costs.

Does Your Flat Need Professional Cleaning?

Are you soon approaching the end of your tenancy in your London flat? Now that you understand what qualifies as normal wear and tear, it’s time to ask yourself:

Is my flat in need of high-quality, professional cleaning?

If you’re concerned about the state of your flat, leave the cleaning to the experts. SYK Cleaning will not only leave your flat immaculate and sparkling clean. We work to help you receive your tenant deposit back in full.

To learn more about our end of tenancy services, contact us today!