Fair Wear and Tear in a Rental

Tenancy can be difficult terrain to navigate, whether you’re a long-time renter or a first-time tenant. When something gets damaged, it can be hard to know what to do - and who is required to cover the repairs.

One common point of confusion is the concept of fair wear and tear. To state the obvious, homes are meant to be lived in, and damage is inevitable. Freshly installed faucets will, at some point, become leaky, and once pristine carpets will eventually wear out when people are trampling on them daily.

According to Tenancy Services, fair wear and tear is defined as the gradual deterioration of things that are used regularly in a property by its occupants. A tenant is not responsible for repairs or damage arising from burglaries, natural events (such as storms, floods and earthquakes), or fair wear and tear.

An example of this would be where a stove element wears out from normal cooking. However, if the stove was being used to heat the kitchen and stopped working properly, this would not be considered normal use.

Examples of what is usually considered fair wear and tear are:
• Flooring getting worn
• Taps and washers in the kitchen, bathroom or laundry wearing out or leaking
• Faded wallpaper or cracked, peeling or faded paint

Examples of what is not normally considered fair wear and tear are:
• Burn marks or drink stains on the carpet
• Drawing on wallpaper
• Mould due to neglect
• Cracked tiles and broken windows

If tenants or their guests carelessly damage a rental property, they are liable for the cost of the damage up to four weeks’ rent or the landlords insurance excess (if applicable), which is lower. Tenants on income-related rents will be liable for careless damage up to four weeks’ market rent or the insurance excess (if applicable), whichever is lower. Landlords can’t ask for or accept more than that limit.

Our experienced property managers carry out regular inspections, and in doing so are able to monitor general wear and tear, as well as any damages which may occur. For more information on the services we provide, talk to us today to find out how we can help you.