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A Guide To Fair Wear And Tear


The most common term you hear when dealing with any dilapidation upon a tenant moving out is "fair wear and tear". Some tenants seem to think cleaning is covered under fair wear and tear and it isn't!


Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) defines fair wear and tear as:

"Fair wear and tear can be defined as the level of deterioration that a landlord might reasonably expect a tenant to cause through their everyday normal use of the property over the period of the tenancy."



The best way to make sure fair wear and tear is allowed for on a check out report at the end of a tenancy is to have a third party inventory clerk do the Inventory at the commencement of the tenancy and the check out at the end. Not only is their view of the property unbiased they are also trained in how to allow fair wear and tear. This is based upon the length of the tenancy, how many tenants were in the property and the overall condition at the beginning. For example with a family of 4 with a pet will be allowed a greater allowance than a single occupancy with no pets.


Before any claim can be made from the tenants deposit, fair wear and tear has to have been allowed for. In a rental property the general wear will be greater than an owner occupied property. At the end of the tenancy the tenants have a responsibility to return the property in a similar condition minus fair wear and tear. Cleaning is a separate entity and leaving a property dirtier than at the start of a tenancy isn't fair wear and tear.


Damage is treated separately and the usual items of damage we see on a check out is:


  • Burn mark to carpet

  • Burn or cut marks to worktop

  • Swollen worktop where water has been allowed to sit

  • Staining to carpet which cleaning can't remove

  • A gouge to the wall

  • Scratch marks from pets


Some examples of the usual fair wear and tear on a check out is:


  • Fraying to carpet

  • Fading curtains

  • Furniture indent marks to carpet

  • Fading to carpet

  • Loose hinges or handle to door or window


How to eliminate damage and stop the deposit dispute at the end


  1. Complete all those small maintenance issues, don't leave them thinking you will wait for the tenant to call you and report them - they probably won't and that small maintenance job can lead to something bigger

  2. Hand the property over to the tenants in a good condition - the more you show the tenants you are looking after the property the more willing they will be to look after it

  3. Set the tenancy up correctly - get a third party independent inventory clerk to conduct the Inventory

  4. Do regular inspections and if any damage is spotted show the tenant and keep a record of it so if it isn't correct at the end of the tenancy you can propose a deduction from the tenant deposit to put this right

We hope the above has been useful and if you have any property related questions please don't hesitate to get in contact with us by clicking here.

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