Fair Wear and Tear
What You Need To Know
The House of Lords has stated that a tenant cannot be held responsible for damage at the end of a tenancy caused by ‘reasonable use of the premises and the ordinary operation of natural forces’.
When assessing whether something is fair wear and tear, or tenant damage and therefore a chargeable issue, a number of factors need to be taken into consideration.
When deciding on action to be taken follow a check out remember also that a landlord cannot expect betterment – an item or area of the property cannot be left by the tenant in a better condition than found at check in, landlords cannot lawfully claim new for old.
Things to take into account when judging fair wear & tear
The Quality of the Item This will vary considerably, and will determine the life expectancy of the item, whether furnishings or decorations.
Average Life Expectancy of an Item Everything in a property has a shelf life, all furniture, fixtures, fittings, carpets and interior décor. When something has reached the end of its life expectancy the landlord is responsible for its replacement.
The Condition at the Start of the Tenancy Is it showing wear from previous tenancies, or landlords use? Was it brand new and unmarked at time of check in or already showing some signs of wear.
The Condition at the End of the Tenancy How has the item deteriorated?
How Long and What Type of Tenancy? A family with two dogs and six children will naturally cause more wear and tear in a property than if the tenancy was for a single or dual occupancy.
Any Extenuating Circumstances Events beyond the control of the tenant, or caused by a third party (ie agent or landlord’s contractor if reported at the time, or permission given for actions.