Fair Wear And Tear

If you are a landlord (or even a tenant) you are sure to have heard this phrase a time or two.

One of the most common causes of disputes between landlords and tenants concerns a persons’ understanding or their differing interpretations about what is fair wear and tear, especially when a lease comes to an end.

Generally, fair wear and tear can be defined as damage that has happened as a cause of:

  • The ordinary day-to-day use of a residence by a tenant (e.g. carpet gets worn from people walking on it)
  • The ordinary operation of natural forces (e.g. sunlight or rain)

It applies to parts of the property that would be expected to wear out over time and is part of the normal aging process of the property.

In most incidences, the tenant is not responsible for fair wear and tear but they are responsible for keeping the premises reasonably clean, notifying (in writing is best) the landlord of any known damage as soon as possible and ensuring guests don’t intentionally or carelessly cause any damage.

Fair wear and tear can be an uncertain issue, especially if the landlord and tenant cannot agree on the cause of the damage.  Sometimes it can be difficult proving which damage was caused from fair wear and tear and which was not and who is responsible.

  • Cracked window panes due to old warped frames
  • Faded drapes/curtains
  • Hole in the wall due to wind blowing door handle into the wall with lack of door stop
  • Plaster on walls chipped due to nails being hammered in
  • Scratches/indents on kitchen bench tops due to cutting or preparing food on the surface without the use of a chopping board
  • Hole in the wall due to physical force

Determining fair wear and tear will depend on factors such as comparisons between the original and final Condition Reports, how long the property has been occupied for, the number of tenants that have lived there and the age of the property itself.

The best way to resolve disputes is always plan for the worst but expect the best! This means having a solid paper trail and photographs in the form of a Condition Report which can be used as evidence because it shows the condition of the property at the start of a lease.  Visuals clearly demonstrate the changing conditions of the property over time so it is very important to keep them up to date.

Wear and tear is unavoidable, it is the damage that naturally and inevitably occurs as a result of normal use or ageing, but staying on top of maintenance and fixing minor issues before they become big problems helps keep the investment in its best condition.       

A landlord can prepare for this by performing minor refurbishments such as painting and replacing the floor coverings and window furnishings every 7-10 years.

Wear and tear is part of the cycle of any investment property.  Putting some money away each year will ensure landlords have the funds to freshen up the property when needed and helps them attract good quality, house proud, long term tenants.

Your investment property deserves the attention of a great Property Manager.

Make the decision today to come and try our Property Management Services and we will do the rest.

                              email: kooweerup@oneagency.com.au                    web: oneagencykooweerup.com.au

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Fair Wear And Tear