What is considered “Fair, wear and tear”

The Law defines fair wear and tear as:

‘reasonable use of the premises by the tenant and the ordinary operation of natural forces.’

This refers to the forces of time, which is normal daily habits and the number and age of tenants present at the property.

A Landlord can't ask the Tenant to pay for repairs or replacement at the end of the tenancy for changes caused by such fair wear and tear.

An allowance for fair wear and tear needs to be taken into account when considering compensation for damage. It is a legal tenet that a Landlord can't expect to have old replaced with new at a Tenants expense.

The law also prevents a Landlord from replacing old items with new and charging the Tenant for the privilege – This is known as ‘betterment’.

Assessing Fair Wear & Tear

At KPS, we use our vast experience and common sense to assess the many factors present before deciding what is attributable to fair wear and tear.

Here are some of the factors that we take into account when making an assessment:

  • Quality of the supplied item
  • Age of the item
  • Condition of the item at the start of the tenancy
  • Condition at the end of the tenancy
  • Usual life expectancy of the item
  • Number of Tenants – how many adults/children
  • Length of tenancy
  • Any extenuating circumstances

To avoid the appearance of betterment, the allocation of costs or compensation must take into account:

  • Fair wear and tear
  • Most appropriate remedy for repair/replacement
  • Landlord is neither financially or materially better off at the end of the tenancy, having taken into account 1. and exercised 2.

Appropriate Remedies

Some of the most common methods available to Landlords for dealing with damage are:

  • Replacement of an item damaged beyond economic use or repair
  • Repair
  • Cleaning
  • Compensation when the value of an item had decreased more rapidly than would be normal.

Please Note: The Landlord or the Managing Agent has a duty to adopt the most reasonable and practical remedy.

For Example:

An Inventory, at the beginning of a tenancy, noted that the lounge carpet had not been freshly cleaned and had a few spot marks. At the end of the tenancy, the Check Out Report noted the carpet was soiled.

The Landlord should not be entitled to full compensation for the carpet cleaning costs. A fair solution would be for the Tenant to pay a percentage of the cleaning costs, which would be calculated by the Inventory Consultant using the technique above.