Tenant Neglect Vs Normal Wear And Tear

 In Property Management

As a landlord you are responsible for costs arising from ‘normal wear and tear’.  Sometimes it is difficult to agree what is normal wear and tear and what is wilful and neglectful damage by the tenant.

While legislation does not directly list examples the following may help to explain the differences (please note these are a guide only and there is always the possibility of a court determining otherwise):

Fair / normal wear and tear where the landlord is liable

  • Carpet wear in corridors or other areas used frequently
  • A lock broken because it was old and had worn out
  • Curtains faded from years in the sun
  • Paint flaking because it is old or not applied properly

Neglectful damage where the tenant is liable

  • Stains or burns from things dropped or placed on floor coverings or benchtops
  • The tenant forgot the key and broke the lock to gain access
  • Mould/mildew has formed because the property was not aired adequately
  • The tenant’s pet tears the curtains or screens

There is an expectation on landlords to maintain the property and often if there is a dispute over fair / normal wear and tear the age of the item will be considered. If the tenant vacates and the floor or window coverings are worn, damaged or stained and they are 7+ years old, it could be argued that the item no longer has any value as it has reached its full depreciable value and therefore the landlord should replace.

As a managing agent,  we are always working in your best interests to achieve the highest possible return on the property. However, we must work within legislative guidelines.

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