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What is 'fair' wear and tear?

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  • What is 'fair' wear and tear?

    my|deposits would like to hear your comments, thoughts and experiences on the subject of 'wear and tear'. How do you make a judgement call at the end of a tenancy lease?

    To give you a point of reference, the House of Lords defines fair wear and tear as: “Reasonable use of the premises by the Tenant and the ordinary operation of natural forces”.

    But, what do you think falls within the boundaries of fair or reasonable wear and tear?

    Please share your thoughts with us and invite others to do so as well.
    Last edited by mydeposits; 01-04-2010, 12:27 PM.

  • #2
    Re: What is 'fair' wear and tear?

    interesting subject, fair wear and tear means something different to everyone. This is a good reason why it is safer to rent through an agency and not through a private individual. From an agency point of view, even breakages are sometimes defined as wear and tear, which you probably would not hear from a private landlord. Beaware that you deposit isnt safe just because it is a protection scheme. Dirty uncleaned flats are most costs to deposits.
    Callaways Estate and Letting Agents Brighton and Hove
    Please Follow me on Twitter HERE

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    • #3
      Re: What is 'fair' wear and tear?

      The reality is that 99.4 per cent of deposits protected with mydeposits are returned without the need for a third party (i.e mydeposits) to intervene. So the evidence suggests your deposit is safe. And mydeposits guarantees the tenant gets their money back – in accordance with the law. This was put in place to ensure deposits are safe and tenants get their money back, if they are entitled to it (e.g after any necessary deductions for damage, etc)

      As it stands at the moment both landlords and letting agents are unregulated, in any industry there is good and bad. It’s impossible to say for sure that you are safer if you use an agency.

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      • #4
        Re: What is 'fair' wear and tear?

        One of my previous landlords tried to withhold about £600 of my deposit - the tenancy deposit protection scheme dispute resolution procedure awarded him about £30 only!! Landlords try it on all the time. Fair wear and tear covers quite a lot.

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        • #5
          Re: What is 'fair' wear and tear?

          Thanks for your input Tom. The law exists to allow you to take things further if you are not satisfied with your landlord’s explanation for withholding all or part of your deposit. Mydeposits can offer advice and assistance on how to resolve the issue in the first instance and offers a free and impartial Dispute Resolution Service for tenants and landlords/agents.

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          • #6
            Re: What is 'fair' wear and tear?

            I have only once kept money back from a deposit and that was when the tenant did a runner out of the country owing two months rent and thousands in utility bills and having smashed the toilet cistern , smashed the glass in the cooker door, broken several chairs and a bed, and a wardrobe,wrecked some carpets, scratched graffiti on walls, covered the kitchen in smoke damage from cooking fat and left the entire house in a filthy disgusting state.
            The cost to bring it back up to habitable standards was not even covered in tiny part by the deposit which didn't even cover the unpaid rent
            It took about 40 hours cleaning and almost full redecoration!
            I lost a lot of money.
            To me reasonable wear and tear is what can be expected from a person who cleans stuff when it gets dirty, replaces items they break, and informs the landlord (as required by tenancy agreement) if for example a leak needs fixing.

            We all know carpets and furniture etc will wear out - and Landlords will replace that.

            However a sofa scratched to ruination by a cat - or a big ink stain on a carpet or curtain or bedclothes would be damage (more than fair wear and tear).

            However like most reasonable Landlords I would not charge the tenant if the item of furniture was due for replacement anyway on my schedule - but would think it reasonable to charge if I had to replace it early than would otherwise be reasonable.

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            • #7
              Re: What is 'fair' wear and tear?

              Wear and Tear = Does not occur when somone damages it!

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              • #8
                Re: What is 'fair' wear and tear?

                Fair wear and tear does NOT include:

                1. lack of effort to clean the property at the end of the tenancy
                2. scribbling on the walls by the kids (the little dahlings are YOUR responsibility, not mine!)
                3. likewise, sticky grubby fingermarks and kiddy/toddler height
                4. cockroach infestations that you didn't tell the Landlord about (because YOU caused the infestation!)
                5. broken fittings that you didn't tell the Landlord about
                6. iron burn marks in the carpet ("oh dear, the iron slipped off of the towel that we were using on the floor to iron our clothes!" WTF! Go buy an ironing board!)
                7. missing lightbulbs at the end of the tenancy despite being instructed to go out and buy some so there's light...
                8. damp and raging black mould caused by massive condensation caused by a total lack of proper ventilation when cooking and bathing/showering


                Tenants should be told that Landlords don't have bottomless pockets full of cash

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                • #9
                  Re: What is 'fair' wear and tear?

                  Fair wear and tear is what you would expect to see in your own house - the house has been looked after, but there are going to be signs that someone has lived in it like scuff marks etc.
                  For letting agent Holmfirth visit applegatelettings.co.uk

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                  • #10
                    Re: What is 'fair' wear and tear?

                    I used to let flats out, and the reason why landlords charge deposits is that some people really destroy your houses.
                    On some of my flats after tenants had left owing rent, I had to completely re-decorate and furnish the flat again. On occasions this was only a few weeks tenancy. Some tenants (not all) really have no respect for your business and landlords tend to loose out even after charging them a deposit.
                    Buy/Rent Direct from owners, Advertise your property for FREE Click here for more information

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                    • #11
                      Re: What is 'fair' wear and tear?

                      Examples of fair wear and tear include:

                      • wall linings punctured by fixing devices for pictures, shelving, curtains and door stops etc
                      • kitchen counters marked or scratched by kitchen implements
                      • walls accidentally marked by random contact or sunlight.
                      • cracked window panes due to old warped frames
                      • paint scratched or chipped
                      • paint fading and discolouring over time
                      • worn carpets from day-to-day use
                      • plaster or brickwork cracks as building settles
                      • cracked floor or wall tiles resulting from structural movement
                      Private Property lists property in South Africa. We cover property to let and for sale.

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                      • #12
                        Re: What is 'fair' wear and tear?

                        That was a really helpful article. Thanks

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                        • #13
                          Re: What is 'fair' wear and tear?

                          That's a tricky one, I think that fair wear and tear would generally involve damages that were evidently accidental, this you can tell by how well the house is looked after.
                          Looking for a large mortgage?

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                          • #14
                            Re: What is 'fair' wear and tear?

                            Originally posted by garethcthomas View Post
                            Fair wear and tear does NOT include:

                            1. lack of effort to clean the property at the end of the tenancy
                            2. scribbling on the walls by the kids (the little dahlings are YOUR responsibility, not mine!)
                            3. likewise, sticky grubby fingermarks and kiddy/toddler height
                            4. cockroach infestations that you didn't tell the Landlord about (because YOU caused the infestation!)
                            5. broken fittings that you didn't tell the Landlord about
                            6. iron burn marks in the carpet ("oh dear, the iron slipped off of the towel that we were using on the floor to iron our clothes!" WTF! Go buy an ironing board!)
                            7. missing lightbulbs at the end of the tenancy despite being instructed to go out and buy some so there's light...
                            8. damp and raging black mould caused by massive condensation caused by a total lack of proper ventilation when cooking and bathing/showering


                            Tenants should be told that Landlords don't have bottomless pockets full of cash
                            You mention the mould. We moved into a property with a mould problem (told the landlord immediately on moving in). We ventilated and spent the winter freezing making sure it was well ventilated yet we were charged to have the whole property treated. It was our word against theirs and seemed really unfair.

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                            • #15
                              Re: What is 'fair' wear and tear?

                              We do a lot of work for landlords who repair/replace after an agreement has ended, my advice to landlords would be this,

                              For goodness sakes do a detailed inventory, and make sure the tenant signs it. Countless times we've gone to properties armed with out of date inventories and had to tell the landlord that its going to be hard to stop any payment.

                              Make sure the property is spotless beforehand, and make a point of taking photo's of it the day before you have they keys over, I even go as far as advising the landlord to attach photo's to the inventory so the tenants know that you know it was clean when you went it.

                              Be realistic about what any repairs/damage/cleaning will cost, its pointless saying that to replace a cupboard door its going to cost £200, get a few free quotes before approaching the tenant/agent.

                              I'd be happy to help anyone who is having issues with deposits.

                              Danny

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