Does your landlord want compensation for damages on you rental apartment?


Carl Seffer
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Do you think you’ll have to pay for damages on your rental apartment?

If you live in a rental apartment, you as a tenant are responsible for looking after the apartment and not causing any major damages. At the same time, it’s completely normal for wear and tear to occur in an apartment, especially if there are several of you living there. So where does the line go between normal wear and tear and major damage? When does the landlord have the right to demand that you pay for damages? And when do you have the right to refuse it?

First of all, it’s important to understand that what counts as normal wear and tear is something that’s assessed on a case-by-case basis. However, there are certain guidelines that can be used as a starting point. Examples of normal wear and tear are minor scratches in parquet floors and holes and small marks in the walls. This is the type of wear and tear that normally occurs just from living in the apartment. Then there are times when damage occurs because someone has been particularly careless. And that’s when you’re obligated to pay for damages.

When is a tenant obliged to pay compensation for damages on a rental apartment?

When deciding whether the damages that has occurred in an apartment is normal wear and tear or not, a couple of factors are taken into account. One factor is how long the tenant has lived in the apartment and how extensive the damage is. The cause of the damages are also something that’s taken into account. For example, has your child painted on the walls? Or do you have bigger and/or deeper scratches on the floor that weren’t caused by just walking on it? Then the landlord may be entitled to claim compensation for damages from you.

How big the compensation will be depends on the damage and how much it would cost to fix it. In case of damages to the walls, the compensation is often the same as the cost of painting or wallpapering the walls. If there are damages to the floors, it may instead be the same as what it costs to, for example, sand and varnish the floors.

Do you think your landlord doesn’t have the right to claim compensation from you?

Since these situations are assessed on a case-by-case basis, it’s also easy for disputes to arise between landlords and tenants. If your landlord demands compensation for damages from you and you believe that they are at fault, you can turn to the rent tribunal. The rent tribunal is like a court that only exists for rent and housing issues. And it’s with them you can raise any disputes that arise between you and your landlord. To make sure that you have the law on your side, you can also contact a lawyer with experience in tenancy law. Then you can both get an assessment of what applies in your particular situation and get help pursuing your issue with the rent tribunal.

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