This is the most common cause of disputes. We all have our own standards, one way to avoid this issue is to ensure the property is professionally cleaned by an outside company at the start of the tenancy, ensure all receipts are kept. The tenant is then in a position where they must leave the property in a professionally clean condition, if they fail to do so the costs may be deducted from the deposit to have the property professionally cleaned.
Landlords must take into consideration fair wear and tear. Walls will become marked over time particularly heavy use areas such as halls, stairs and landings. However, adding nails, screws, picture hooks, tape and blue tac etc. is not considered to be fair wear and tear and a tenant will be liable for such damage.
Items damaged as a direct result of the tenants actions whether deliberate or accidental can cause disputes. Landlords are entitled to compensation when an item has been damaged or broken and needs replacing sooner than it would had it not been for the tenants actions.
Generally maintenance responsibilities lie with the landlord, for example if a leak occurs in the bathroom causing damage to the ceiling below it is the landlords responsibility to get it fixed, however, it is the tenants responsibility to alert the landlord to the issue as soon as is practicably possible. Should the tenant ignore the issue and not alert the landlord the tenant may be liable to contribute towards the cost of the repairs.
At the end of a tenancy it is common for tenants to leave unwanted items. This is not acceptable and the cost of removal of such items can be deducted from the deposit.
Usually it is the tenants responsibility to maintain the gardens ensuring the weeding is carried out and lawns mowed. It is recommended that landlords mow lawns and weed the garden before each tenancy.