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How do we determine ‘fair wear and tear’?

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This topic can be a contentious issue when it comes to the landlord and tenant (or the Rental Manager and tenant) agreeing on what is ‘fair wear and tear’, and who is responsible to rectify the issue.

Generally, if something perishes or breaks down due to age it would be up to the landlord to fix or replace it – for example: curtains or drapes that have faded or become brittle over the years, carpet that has worn in high traffic areas or paint that has peeled with age.
On the other hand, if there is excessive wear and tear or damage from a tenant, this would be the tenant’s responsibility to rectify. Examples of this include: a tenant’s approved pet damages curtains or carpets; flyscreens are damaged because the tenant has locked themselves out and has bent the frame or ripped the wire to let themselves in.
It would be reasonable to say if the tenant had excessive marks on walls (from fingerprints or texta drawing) – or even a chip in the wall due to a tricycle pedal hitting the wall – then it would be the responsibility of the tenant to rectify these things.

If a tenant (or their visitor) damages something at the rental property it would be highly recommended to report it immediately to the landlord and/or Rental Manager. This gives the parties a chance to discuss how the damage is going to be rectified. Normally this would be at the cost of the tenant unless the damage was out of their control – for example: a ceiling collapses, flood damage, or locks that have deteriorated due to age.

This is why it’s important for the landlord and tenant to complete an in-going inspection at the commencement of the tenancy. It is there to act as record of the original condition of the rental property. Routine inspections are another good way to monitor wear and tear and/or damage.
All these steps will assist when the time comes to conduct the final inspection and to work out what is ‘fair wear and tear’ versus what is ‘excessive wear and tear’ or damage, and who is responsible for the rectification. Stay calm and discuss any queries which arise.

Call Lisa Akeroyd at Barossa Rental Specialists on 0414 335 660 or drop into our vibrant Tanunda office to discuss your rental strategy.

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