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Trade body advises agents to stop tenants 'gaming' wear and tear

The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks is advising letting agents and landlords to be wary of any tenant seeking to ‘game’ the system over reasonable wear and tear costs.

The association claims that tenants are increasingly aware of the difference between fair wear and tear and actual damage, making it key that agents and landlords have thorough procedures in place to make reasonable charges for genuine damage caused on a rental property.

A recent YouGov survey of 2,000 tenants for property platform TheHouseShop.com revealed that not all tenants accept responsibility - some 33 per cent of private renters said they would not tell their landlord if they did significant damage to their property.

Of these, 17 per cent would hire a professional to make repairs and 15 per cent would try to repair the damage themselves while two per cent would try to hide it. 

"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" says AIIC chair Patricia Barber.

She says agents and landlords must have thorough processes for tenant referencing, taking and protecting deposits, and for carrying out an independently-compiled inventory.

"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" says Barber.

The AIIC also suggests that landlords and agents proactively warn and remind tenants to report damage issues as quickly as possible. "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" Barber concludes.

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