Accidents such as spilt wine do happen in the home, however for tenants living in a rental property it’s important to bear in mind what will happen when the tenancy ends and they move out.

In a situation such as this, the tenants are responsible for cleaning up the mess so it’s worth trying to do this as soon as possible – this may prevent staining. If the tenant cannot remove the stain it is important they speak to the landlord straight away; it may be possible to agree a solution to the problem there and then.

The tenancy agreement usually dictates the condition the property should be left in; this includes carpets where the agreement should specify the standard of cleaning required including any special treatments. For example, if the carpet was professionally cleaned at the start of the tenancy, it should be left cleaned to the same standard at the end. If this is not done, or cleaning is unsuccessful, the landlord may be entitled to claim from the tenancy deposit.

During the dispute resolution process, an adjudicator will normally consider the most economical solution in cases of cleaning or damage disputes. In the scenario above, it would normally be more economical to have the carpet cleaned professionally. If it is not possible to remove the stain in this way, the landlord needs to provide evidence that it is not possible, such as a statement from a cleaning company, before claiming for replacement or compensation.

Once it has been established that cleaning is not possible, a deposit deduction for a contribution towards replacement costs may be justified depending on the impact and seriousness of the stain, for example if the stain is particularly prominent.

In cases like these, check-in information is of particular importance for providing evidence of a carpet’s age, cleanliness and condition at the start of the tenancy.  Recording any other existing damage or stains in the carpet is also important as this could affect whether an award is made for replacement or not. Any invoices for the purchase and fitting of the original carpet will be helpful too because an adjudicator will also need to take into consideration the carpet’s age, quality and reasonable lifespan when assessing replacing costs.

If the adjudicator decides that replacement costs are not justified, an award for compensation could be made to the landlord to reflect the damage to the carpet, albeit not contributing to its replacement cost.

In general, it’s always a good idea to communicate incidents such as this to your landlord as soon as possible. Solving problems during the tenancy is much better than leaving them to be sorted when moving out.

About TDS:

Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) is a government approved scheme for the protection of tenancy deposits; TDS offers both Insured and Custodial protection and also provides fair adjudication for disputes that arise over the tenancy deposits that we protect.

We provide invaluable training in tenancy deposit protection and disputes for agents and landlords through the TDS Academy as well as joining with MOL to provide the Technical Award in Residential Tenancy Deposits.

TDS Insured Scheme: where a TDS member can hold the tenancy deposits as stakeholder during the term of the tenancy.

TDS Custodial Scheme: where TDS hold the deposit for the duration of the tenancy.

TDS Academy: TDS provides property professionals with invaluable training in tenancy deposit protection and tenancy deposit disputes.

TDS can only comment on the process for our scheme, other deposit protection schemes may have a different process/require different steps. Content is correct at the time of writing.

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