What is fair wear and tear?

For tenants, there’s no set prescription for what is deemed reasonable ‘wear and tear’ associated with living in a property. Many variables exist, such as the age of the property and materials used.

Wear and tear
  • 1 March, 2018
  • PROPERTY MANAGEMENT
  • Renting, Tenants, Property wear and tear

Reasonable wear and tear is generally considered to be:

  • changes which happen during the normal use of the premises or their fixtures or fittings;
  • changes which happen due to the natural ageing of premises or their fixtures or fittings.

Expectedly, agreement over fair wear and tear in rental properties can be difficult and on several occasions have made their way to the judicial system for determination.

Previously, the court system has determined that “reasonable wear and tear means the reasonable use of the house by the tenant and the ordinary operation of natural forces.” While interpretation of that finding can be vague, it’s generally accepted that fair wear and tear can include:

  • plaster cracks which are a result of property movement;
  • scuffed carpets from day-to-day use;
  • paint fading or losing its colour over time.

Things which are not considered fair wear and tear include:

  • holes and cracks created by wall hangings made by tenants;
  • permanent carpet stains caused by tenant activities;
  • scratched floor boards created by shifting furniture.

To avoid issues, be thorough with your property manager when completing the entry report.

LJ Hooker NZ

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