What Is Considered Fair Wear And Tear At A Rental Property?


In a rental house, what is considered general wear and tear and how does it vary from property damage? To secure their rights as tenants, anybody intending to rent a property must first be comfortable with the distinction between the two concepts.

Who is responsible for property maintenance?

The likelihood of conflicts between the owner and the occupant are very high because the lease arrangement explicitly specifies the property management laws; so much so that each party could decide to bring the other to trial for monetary damages incurred as a result of the failure of one party to protect the property.

Maintenance of rental property is a grey field, in terms of legal proceedings. Most often than not, both sides, tenant and landlord, appear to believe that the other is responsible for the damage. The true dilemma occurs as the landlord claims that the occupant is liable for all harm to the house and deducts from the security deposit of the tenant the expense of undoing these damages.

The occupant is frequently expected to pay for the alleged losses for which he may not necessarily be liable in the absence of any explicitly defined terms about this in the rental agreement. Therefore, the distinction between damage to the rental property and the usual wear and tear of the rented property must be fully recognised beforehand.

Laws And Duties To Know

The Consumer Affairs Victoria mentioned, “At the end of a tenancy, the tenant must leave the premises and inclusions, as far as possible, in the same condition they were in at the beginning of the tenancy, except fair wear and tear.”

It is predicted that a property would have "fair wear and tear" over time. In Australia, it is not the duty of tenants to pay for reasonable wear and tear on a house. They will be obliged to pay for maintenance only if the occupant has been reckless, careless, or has purposely caused harm to the property.

"Fair" has to do with the cause of the damage or “wear and tear”. The damage must have happened reasonably in the context of fair use of the property. It is in the best interests of the ones concerned to ensure that detailed condition assessments are completed and signed prior to the lease. All the parties, including tenants, owners, and their management agency should be involved in the process.

Due consideration should be given, in particular with regard to the conservation of the property, during the preparation of the rental agreement clauses. Because this has the potential to significantly impact the asset's future value, the landlord can incorporate provisions to fix all parties' respective obligations.

Such reports explain in depth the state of the property and may also contain photographs and/or videos of any objects specified in the study. Tenants have the right to add to the Condition Report their own remarks, as long as it is signed over to the management agent within 3 business days of the start of their contract.

You can prevent crossing the line from fair wear and tear to damage of the property, which can make you face a possible bond conflict. You must go through the agreement with caution and attention, and ensure appropriate documentation of every term. In this respect, leaving some kind of grey ground will not only result in potential disputes with your landlord but also inflict monetary harm.

What is “Fair wear and tear”?

The ordinary depreciation of property from daily use is “fair wear and tear.” Such as wear that occurs during daily use; in less-visited parts of the home, for example, carpet in a corridor will (generally) be more worn than carpet in your bedroom.

While tenancy regulations differ across each jurisdiction, this concept of 'fair wear and tear' is widely agreed upon by the real estate industry.

What is Property Damage?

Any sort of unwelcome improvements to the property that the tenant has done with a certain degree of intent will be considered property damage. Big or minor gaps in the wall, shattered floor tiles and wall mirrors, dysfunctional fittings in the bathroom or kitchen, ripped carpets and lasting stains on the upholstery are not the type of instances that happen without neglect.

The occupant would have to pay the landlord for the maintenance work for any other losses that undermine the worth of the house and do not count as usual wear and tear.

Practical Situations To Be Aware Of

Here are the different scenarios that can determine whether your deeds fall under “fair wear and tear” or property damage. Check out the instances of “fair wear and tear” below:

·         Carpet damage in high traffic areas 

·         Frayed cords and faded curtains due to natural causes.

·         Minor scuff marks

·         Sun fading stains

·         Scuffed wooden floors

·         Faded or cracked or chipped paint

·         Worn kitchen tabletop

·         Loose door handles or hinges due to high usage

·         Cracks in the walls 

·         Watermarks left on the flooring due to a roof leak

·         Worn paint near light switches

Now, let us check out the instances that would be considered ”Damage”:

·         Missing blinds or curtains 

·         Curtains torn by the tenant’s pets 

·         Stains on the carpet

·         Extensively broken tiles 

·         Badly scratched wooden floors

·         An unapproved paint job or wallpaper

·         Burns or cuts in tabletops

·         Broken window panes 

·         Holes drilled in walls

·         Water stain on the flooring due to indoor pot plants or water overflow during bath

·         Paint damage caused from removing sticky tapes, hammering nails, or mounting wall fixtures

·         Motor oil stains on the floor

Food For Thought For Landlords

Getting a landlord’s insurance policy would ensure that you have peace of mind. Thanks to the cover, you will be protected from any future serious harm or intentional damage that goes above the scope of reasonable wear and tear.

Don’t know where to start? Call Jasmine Real Estate for a thorough evaluation of your new property.



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