Polished Wooden Floors in Rental Homes

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Tenants can damage polished wooden floors in rental properties from day one. For example, on the day a tenant moves into a property, large appliances such as a refrigerator are a high risk item. The four small wheels at the base of the refrigerator bear all the weight. They will leave ‘track’ marks or indentations right across your timber floor. They could run from the front door to the fridge recess if these wheels make contact with the surface. This is one possible scenario which you can avoid by being a little pro-active.

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Topics Covered In This Post

  • Tenant Damage To Polished Wooden Floors

    Moving large appliances, furniture and pet damage.

  • Steps to take to avoid disputes

    Make sure your entry condition report is accurate and thorough.

  • The clauses to include in your tenancy agreement

    Make sure you protect yourself by including the right clauses in your tenancy agreement.

  • What we encounter as floor sanders

    What tenants try to do to avoid paying for repairs.

Types of Tenant Damage

Moving a refrigerator:
Moving in or out of a property poses a huge threat to your floors. They should never roll a fridge across a floor. Even rolling them out of the fridge recess and back in can leave permanent indentations. There is a safe method for moving refrigerators over polished wooden floors. It's described in a short video at the bottom of this page.

Damage caused by furniture:
Furniture legs need felt protective pads to avoid damage from movement. Especially dining room chairs, they are the most moved pieces of furniture in a home. As with refrigerators, they should not roll or push other large items across a finished floor. This is to avoid indentations or permanent track marks.

Damage caused by Kids and pets:
Dog claws will destroy a polished timber floor. Even the hardest of timber floors will damage in a short period of time. This is due to the sharp edges of the claws after clipping. The smaller the dog, the more likely it will occur. The rule of thumb is, no dogs inside on polished wooden floors whatsoever. Otherwise you can expect the costs of a full re-sand and re-coating to repair this type of damage. Kids and polished timber floors are fine. There are a few tips to follow to avoid issues such as wiping up any spills immediately.

How To Avoid Disputes

The signing of an entry condition report is standard procedure at the start of a tenancy. It is a written agreement between a landlord/agent and a potential tenant. Before a tenant moves in, ensure the entry condition is thorough. The report should include specific aspects of the floor condition. Make sure you include photographs of key points.

Wear on polished wooden stairs
Wear on polished wooden hallway

The particular location points you should focus your attention on are the front entry, the path from the front entry to the refrigerator recess, and the dining room floor.

All rooms should be photographed as a rule although these areas are the most prone to damage. Take note of any damage that is present if any, and to what extent. Ensure the photos are date stamped, clear, in colour and from multiple angles to support your claims if a dispute arises.

This condition report is your proof that the tenant agrees with your description of the current floor condition and can be used at a tribunal to support a dispute if required.

The Tenancy Agreement

Within a Rental Tenancy Authority agreement there are ‘standard terms’ and ‘special terms’. Within the special terms you should include the following to avoid damage to polished timber floors:

Tenancy agreement
  • No dogs are permitted within the home at any times.
  • Furniture and appliances must not be rolled or pushed across the polished floors.
  • Felt protective pads are to be fitted to all furniture legs.

The three ‘special terms’ listed here are a must, although you should also consider including what to use to clean the floors. This can impact on your long term maintenance in terms of having your floors re-coated at some stage in the future. If the wrong cleaning product is used, it can cause a residual film layer build up over time. This can cause rejection issues when attempting to apply additional maintenance coats to improve durability and rejuvenate the surface coating at a later date.

What We Encounter

On a regular basis we encounter tenants trying to obtain a quote for repair work to a rental property where they have damaged the floors. Common situations include:

  • “We had a dog inside our rental property and claw marks are present, is there an easy fix?”
  • “We’re moving out of our rental property and need a small spot repair for damage to the floor from our furniture”.

Not only are these repairs more complex and expensive than they think, but it is illegal for a tenant to arrange work to be performed on a landlords property. This is a tenant in panic mode and only concerned with receiving all of their bond back, thinking there is an easy solution or currently in conflict with an agent/landlord over damage costs being claimed.
The key to avoiding this type of dispute is to be pro-active with your entry condition report so proof can be provided to the tenant and the tribunal if necessary for the recovery of funds from the rental bond to carry out the repair work needed.

Other Steps To Take

Supply quality mats at entrances:
Dirt and grit will have a sandpaper type effect on polished wooden floors and will speed up the wearing down of the surface coating. As a landlord, it is noted that general wear and tear is acceptable and must be expected, although the life span of a polished timber floor will be dramatically decreased if grit is not minimized by using appropriate mats at entrances to the home. The placing of mats at entrances is not really a ‘make or break’ action, just a tool to decrease wear & avoid scratching so it’s just good policy for an owner to just supply them with the property.
Curtains and blinds:
This is not related to mistreatment by a tenant although inadvertently they could contribute to shortening the life span of your floors if action is not taken on your part as a property owner. Direct sunlight beating onto your polished timber floors on the east and west sides of your home can rapidly deteriorate the floor coating. Ensure windows or glass doors are fitted with appropriate blinds or curtains. If it seems unlikely that a tenant will keep curtains or blinds closed on a particular door or window which receives intense sunlight in the morning or afternoon, consider having that window tinted.

How to Move a fridge Without Damage

This short video below explains the safe way to move a refrigerator over a polished wooden floors without creating any damage.

Choosing a quality floor sanding service for your rental property is vital. For more information or to arrange a free on-site inspection please contact Economy Floor Sanding in Brisbane today. We service all polished wooden floors North of the Brisbane River as far as the Dayboro township.