Resolution case study – carpet replacement and fair wear and tear

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We offer an independent and impartial resolution service for landlords, agents and tenants who are unable to reach agreement on distributing the deposit when the tenancy ends.

Our Resolution Department Lead, Suzy Hershman, helps you to understand our approach in this case about carpet replacement and fair wear and tear


Deposit details

Deposit amount                £1,250.00

Disputed amount             £825.00

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What happened?

The tenant said:

  • the carpets were not new when they moved in 
  • some stains were already there, and some edges were frayed and coming away from the wall 
  • they asked the landlord if the carpets could be replaced after living there for five years as they were looking untidy 
  • the landlord did not want to do this and only agreed to replace the lounge carpet 
  • the tenant admitted to dropping the iron on the lounge carpet and they are willing to pay something towards the costs being asked 
  • the amount the landlord wants to charge is unreasonably high


The agent responded, saying:

  • the check-out report said that all the carpets had several marks and stains on them 
  • there is no way the carpets can be used for future tenancies 
  • the lounge carpet, which the landlord replaced two years ago, was burnt in two places 
  • the landlord should be entitled to claim for replacing the carpet, which the tenant admits to damaging


What evidence was provided?

Tenancy agreement, check-in report, checkout report, invoice and quote.


What was decided and why?

The check-in report recorded:

  • the carpets downstairs were in generally good condition with some wear
  • fraying to the edges and tread wear on the walkways in the bedrooms


The checkout report noted:

  • two large iron burn marks in the centre of the lounge carpet
  • other carpets throughout the property were very worn and discoloured with numerous stains and spot marks


The landlord provided an invoice to show that the lounge carpet was replaced two years before the tenant moved out.

The adjudicator’s initial consideration was the condition of the carpets at the start of the tenancy and the length of time the tenant the tenant lived there, which was four years.


Lounge carpet

The starting condition for this area was irrelevant as the carpet was new halfway through the tenancy.

Both the tenant and check-out report confirmed the condition and burns in this area when the tenancy ended. The adjudicator found the tenant responsible for costs towards replacing the lounge carpet as it was only two years old, and the burn marks were extensive enough to warrant replacement.

The quote for all the carpets to be replaced was for £825.00, which included the lounge carpet (£325.00), stairs/hallway (£210.00) and two bedrooms (£290.00).

After making an allowance for reasonable wear and tear over the two years the carpet had been used, the adjudicator awarded £195.00, which was 60% of the replacement cost.


Other carpets

The adjudicator was unable to make any award for the other areas claimed due to:

  • their worn condition at the start of the tenancy
  • the addition of four years of normal use by a family of four
  • the average lifespan of medium quality carpets in a rented property – around five years – which was the minimum time that these carpets had been laid
  • concluding that a large amount of natural depreciation had occurred and the carpets had exceeded their natural life, which is the landlord’s responsibility

How can you avoid this happening in future?

  • Avoiding reasonable wear in a property is not possible and a landlord should reasonably expect to replace some items after a particularly long tenancy, as they will have naturally depreciated over time
  • Breaking down the work needed in specific areas (in invoices, estimates etc) is good to avoid betterment and make sure you can negotiate well where you have a good claim
  • It’s always important to consider the average lifespan of items in a rented property before deciding whether it is reasonable to make a claim
  • When an item is replaced during the tenancy, a reasonable amount of wear must be taken into account before proposing any cost
  • Always consider the number and age of the occupiers (i.e. young children) when thinking what allowance should be made for fair wear and tear


For further reading on this topic, see our guide on the life expectancy of rental products, and ‘Fair wear and tear – what is it and how is it applied?’.