In many instances, a tenant is responsible for the cost of repairs to a home once they vacate if they fall out of the scope of "general wear and tear".
Costs can include those related to the repair or replacement of furnishings, and well as any structural damage that is present. This is unlikely to be the case, however, if a tenant has not signed a contract. I'll explain why this is in more detail below.
Type of contract
The type of contract a tenant signs has massive implications on their responsibilities when their tenancy comes to an end. Many contracts state that a tenant is responsible for repairs to anything they've obviously damaged, but not general wear and tear.
If a contract fails to state what "general wear and tear" actually covers, issues can arise when the tenant is faced with a hefty bill for repairs.
What counts as general wear and tear?
In most cases, general wear and tear includes everything that would be included in everyday life. For example, carpets are likely to become a little more dirty than when the tenant initially moved in, and furniture a little faded due to sunlight. These are generally things that cannot be avoided.
On the other hand, lots of carpet stains do not count as general wear and tear, and neither do damaged furnishings due to the tenant. These items would be things that the tenant is responsible for repairing or replacing when they leave. This is usually covered by a deposit that's paid before the tenant moves in.
What is the best way to avoid repair issues?
The best way to avoid repair and replacement issues when you're renting a property is to make sure you've read the contract properly before signing it. This way, you'll know what you can and cannot be billed for at the end of the tenancy.
Another important thing to do is to take photographs of the property on the day you move in, making note of any damage that's already occurred. You can hand these in to your landlord or estate agent with a date and signature.
Ultimately, a tenant is responsible for the cost of new paint, cleaning, and carpet replacement if they've caused damage that's considered to be outside of general wear and tear.