Tenancy Betterment (Damage) Calculator

A Guide To Product Lifespans

The following guide will teach you what you need to know about product lifespans and the factors that affect them. There are so many factors that need to be considered for each dispute, such as the size of the property, the number & age of occupants, the quality and lifespan of the property and contents, therefore each case must be considered on its own merits and no two cases are the same.

There is also a word to be said about the likelihood for the tenant to argue the point, if that case never gets to adjudication then the outcome will be based on negotiation rather than strict evidence. More and more these days tenants are happy to allow it to go to adjudication and therefore we need to ensure that everything is done based on strict evidence and process.

Please note that it may not be that adjudicators apply the guidelines below in every case. The evidence we present in a given case may justify a higher or lower award. We recommended that evidence is provided in support of an item’s age cost and quality when new. In the absence of this, the adjudicator is likely to base their calculations on a medium quality replacement item. 

Factors Affecting The Adjudicators Decision

Length of tenancy – the longer the tenancy, the more natural wear. Common sense but think, for example, how much wear a carpet in your own home shows after one, two or three years. Also consider what the item’s condition was when the tenancy started; was it brand new or has it already seen a few tenancies come and go?

Number and age of occupiers – the more bedrooms and occupants, the higher the wear and tear that should be expected in all the common parts e.g. sitting room, passages, stairs, bathrooms and kitchen. If you are letting to a family with children, factor that in too. Scuffs and scrapes are unavoidable in normal family life. A property occupied by a single person should see far less wear than a family of four, so bear this in mind when it’s time for tenants to check out.

Wear and tear vs. actual damage – when is it no longer normal wear? Damage i.e. breaking something is not wear and tear – meaning either replacement or repair. Light marks on a carpet might have to be viewed as unavoidable. On the other hand, damage such as nail varnish spills on the floor or iron burns that have occurred due to negligence could see the tenant liable for repair. Consider whether the item has been damaged or worn out through natural use versus negligence when making a judgement call.

Quality and condition – consider the original quality of the item at the start of the tenancy and what it originally cost to provide. It would be unreasonable for a landlord to provide a cheap and flimsy set of bedroom furniture and then blame the tenant if the items are damaged through normal usage. Adjudicators may expect to see receipts or other evidence to confirm an item’s age, or its cost and quality when new. Another consideration is the quality or fabric of the property itself. 

Carpets & Flooring

CARPETS

  • Low quality - 2 to 4 years
  • Medium quality - 5 to 8 years
  • High quality - 8 to 15 years

NATURAL FIBRE CARPETS

Jute/ Seagrass/ Sisal/ Coir - Up to 8 years

LAMINATE/ VINYL FLOORING

5 to 10 years

HARDWOOD FLOORING

15 to 50 years

Household Goods

WASHING MACHINES

  • Low quality - 2 to 5 years
  • Medium quality - 6 to 8 years
  • High quality - 9 to 12 years

DISHWASHERS

  • Low quality - Up to 5 years
  • Medium quality - up to 10 years
  • High quality - up to 15 years

OVENS/COOKERS/HOBS

9 to 15 years

Household Goods

CURTAINS

  • Low quality - up to 5 years
  • Medium quality - up to 10 years
  • High quality - up to 20 years

BLINDS

  • Low quality - up to 3 years
  • Medium quality - up to 8 years
  • High quality - up to 15 years

MATTRESSES

Up to 8 years

Decoration

3 to 5 years

  • Heavy Traffic areas such as hallways wear more quickly so this may affect the useful life in that area.
  • Suitability may also come into play for instance a high wear area with a high pile carpet meant for bedrooms may be deemed not suitable and therefore the useful life may be downgraded.  

Factors Affecting The Adjudicators Decision

An adjudicator will examine the check-in/out reports, any statements of condition, and any photographs or videos to compare the condition of the property at the start and end of the tenancy in order to determine whether cleaning/repair is required versus complete replacement at the end of the tenancy. In some cases, the damage may not be severe enough to necessitate the complete replacement of an item at the tenant's expense (for example, a kitchen worktop or carpet); however, the adjudicator will award sums to compensate for any damage that has occurred.

While landlords may wish to replace a damaged item, even if the tenant admits to the damage, it is not always the case that the extent of the damage is such that the tenant should automatically bear the full replacement cost

In circumstances where damage to the property is so extensive or severe as to affect the achievable rent level or market quality, the most appropriate remedy might be replacement and to apportion costs according to the age and useful lifespan of the item.

Sources - Tenancy Deposit Scheme Guide to Product Lifespan Feb2021.

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