Property Damage - The Latest Research 1st Aug 2015

Recent research from reveals that 43% of renters do not know whether the responsibility for maintaining their rental property lies with themselves, their landlord, or their letting agent. 11% say they have a better understanding of their responsibilities than their landlord, while 48% said they believe their landlord knows more about this issue.

25% of tenants said they would like to better understand the distinction between damage and wear and tear. 18 to 24 year olds were particularly unclear on where they stood regarding internal décor.

A tenant can no longer be charged – or have anything deducted from their deposit – for damage that would have inevitably occurred as a result of the property being inhabited. This is wear and tear. Actual damage is considered to be destruction which could have been avoided, and is more than just a result of use – for instance a burn in the carpet or a broken window pane.

Structural problems such as damp, rotten window frames and a leaking roof were the most common issues reported by tenants, according to further research by Ocean Finance. Renters were also unhappy with delays in repairing broken items of furniture, washing machines or showers. 35% of tenants said the issue they had reported had not been dealt with even although both the letting agent and landlord had been made aware. 13% of tenants did not know who to turn to for advice in this situation.

Ultimately this confusion may be a prime factor in tenant disputes, which are on the rise. Disagreements most commonly involve issues surrounding furniture and appliances, as well as issues to do with cleaning, mould, utility bills and energy efficiency. There needs to be more clarity over who is responsible for maintaining which aspect of the property.

In Scotland, the landlord or letting agent must give every tenant a Tenant Information Pack at the start of the tenancy. It lays out what the tenant is responsible for, and what the landlord is responsible for (for further information see article on Landlord and Tenant Responsibilities). Reputable letting agents, such as The Key Place, will also give tenants helpful guides at the start of their tenancy, such as a guide to preventing Legionnaires Disease, a guide explaining cleaning expectations, and a gas safety information sheet.

A letting agent will have experience with almost every issue, and will provide the right advice and guidance to both parties. Letting agents provide a buffer zone between landlord and tenant, and know who is responsible for what. By using a letting agent, the relationship is kept on a business footing, allowing you to relax, knowing your property is in safe hands. Choose a letting agent who is a member of a registered body, such as the Council of Letting Agents, and Landlord Accreditation Scotland. The Key Place is a member of both and adheres to their policies.

The Key Place is one of Scotland’s leading letting agencies, managing properties throughout Edinburgh & the Lothians, Central Scotland and the Scottish Borders. Please contact us if you would like any advice on your rental property.