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PPG_May_Blog_image 7_reasonable wear and tear

The concept of reasonable wear and tear on a rental property is one subject that property owners and tenants regularly find confusing.

Usually, at the end of a tenancy, the tenant is responsible for leaving the premises in as close to the same condition as they found it. To describe this requirement, many lease agreements include the clause ‘fair wear and tear excepted’. So something like carpet deterioration in high traffic areas would be reasonable. On the other hand, if there were large stains in several rooms, it would be hard to maintain that this is the product of fair use.

What is considered ‘fair wear and tear’ will depend on the individual circumstances of the property but it has been protected into tenancy legislation. Numerous cases have flowed from tenancy tribunals and other courts that have struggled with this issue.

To try and avoid any disputes over damage it is imperative you have a detailed property condition report in place prior to any new tenancy. This document must be signed by both parties at the commencement of the lease agreement. The report alone could be worth thousands in the event of a claim.

Regular property inspections are also a sensible way of making sure the condition of a rental property is maintained at a fair standard, and that any issues, either from the landlord or tenant, can be addressed in a timely manner.

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