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What is Fair Wear and Tear?

This is a term used quite extensively in residential tenancies. When a tenant vacates a property, agents and owners are cautioned to not make tenants responsible for anything that can be classed as ‘Fair Wear and Tear’.

‘Fair Wear and Tear’ refers to the deterioration that occurs over time with the use of the premises even though the premises receive reasonable care and maintenance.  Such deterioration could be caused by exposure, time, or just by ordinary use.  The tenant is only liable for negligent, irresponsible or intentional actions that cause damage to the premises.

These examples my help to explain the difference:

Faded curtains or frayed cords Missing curtains or torn by the tenant’s cat
Furniture indentations and traffic marks on the carpet Stains or burn marks on the carpet
Scuffed wooden floors Badly scratched or gouged wooden floors
Faded, chipped or cracked paint Unapproved or poor quality paint job
Worn kitchen bench top Burns or cuts in bench top
Loose hinges or handles on doors or  windows and worn sliding tracks Broken glass from one of the tenant’s children hitting a ball through the window
Cracks in the walls from movement Holes in the walls left by tenant removing picture hooks or shelves they had installed
Water stain on carpet from rain through leaking roof or bad plumbing Water stain on carpet caused by overflowing bath or indoor pot plants
Paint worn off wall near light switch Damage to paint caused by removing posters stuck with ‘Blu-Tack’ or sticky tape