When it comes to the relationship between tenants and landlords it can sometimes be difficult, akin to a game of cat and mouse. This is never more so the case when it comes to tenants moving out of the property, where it can be common for renters to go to great lengths to hide issues to ensure that they still get their deposit back. Unfortunately, this means that sometimes certain landlords may not find issues with the property until a much later date, usually after the deposit has already been given back. At Secured Loans, we take a look at some of the things renters tend to hide from landlords when leaving a property, as well as things that you should be looking out for when doing the final inspection of the house.
Mould and mildew issues
One of the biggest problems when it comes to issues with mould and mildew in a property is that it can be very easy to hide, but unfortunately, it is also incredibly difficult to remove. If you have been in a situation where you have experienced bad tenants, who have not properly ventilated the property over a long period of time, it could end up costing you a considerable amount of money to fix, rather than be taken out of the deposit of the tenant who has caused it due to not spotting the signs. When it comes to spotting issues with mould and mildew when you inspect a property, remember to look out for the following:
- Make sure that you are inspecting the windows, as condensation tends to be one of the fundamental reasons contributing to moisture. THoroughly check to see if ex-tenants have attempted to hide any potential signs of moisture that has accumulated on the windows
- Checking the kitchen units is also another thing you should look out for when seeing if there are mould and mildew problems in the property
- Check for signs of fresh paint, particularly in corners and ceilings
- Check the sink surroundings
Hidden carpet stains
Whilst most stains on carpets can be easily removed, sometimes it can be the case where only professional carpet cleaning can deal with the problem. This can end up becoming fairly expensive, and therefore it can be tempting for tenants to try to find ways that can help to hide the signs of stains so that they will not have to fork out for cleaning by deducting this amount from their deposit. As a landlord, here are some tips to seeking out hidden stains:
- Has there been any furniture that has been notably rearranged? It is reasonably common for tenants to move furniture around so that they can help to hide stubborn stains. This is why it is important to check when it comes to the final inspections
- Have they used bleach? If they have, it is usually the case that the bleach used to lighten a dark stain end up turning beige, so keep an eye out for this too.
Checking the furniture
Furniture may also be relocated to not only hide stains on the carpet, but it could also be rearranged to hide damage to the furniture itself. This means it is recommended to thoroughly inspect the furniture if it is has been relocated to see if there is notable damage, scratches or stains that need to be deducted from the deposit, and are not simply a case of general wear and tear.
In the UK, it is common for landlords to not allow tenants to have pets in their properties, due to the noise and damage they can create which can be costly to repair. Or, some landlords will ask their renters to pay a higher security deposit instead, to cover the potential costs of the tenant having a pet once they leave the property. However, in either case, not all tenants will let landlords know because they are scared they will end up getting evicted, or they do not like the idea of having to pay a higher deposit. Renters when moving out may try to mask the smell of a cat, for example, through trying to spray room freshener extensively throughout the house. This means that you should definitely be keeping in mind weird, musky smells in the house when you do the inspection.
Remember fair wear and tear
Whilst there are some renters out there who will act dishonestly and try to hide damage they have made to the property, the majority of tenants are respectable, honest people. You should make room for normal wear and tear to a rented property, and not charge them for wear and tear to a building that is returned in a similar condition to how it was in the first place.
When it comes to determining what can be considered as wear and tear as a landlord, this will depend upon a number of factors. For example, you will need to take into account reasonable everyday usage such as the type and number of tenants, as well as the length of the tenancy. Generally speaking, as a landlord you should provide a greater allowance to tenants the longer they have been in the property, or if they have young children.
Similarly, you should expect higher levels of wear and tear to decorations in a bathroom, kitchen or hallway than other areas of the property, such as a study or in the bedroom. Nevertheless, damage that is unlikely to be considered as general wear and tear includes:
- Limescale in a sink or dirt in a washing machine dispense
- Soiling to a carpet
- A gouge to a wall