A Guide to Fair Wear and Tear

The term "fair wear and tear" often comes up when discussing security deposit deductions. But what exactly does it mean, and how does it affect both tenants and landlords? This guide aims to clarify the concept and offer some practical advice.

What is Fair Wear and Tear?

  • Definition: Fair wear and tear refers to the natural deterioration of a property over time due to reasonable use. It is not the result of neglect or abuse by the tenant.

Factors Affecting Fair Wear and Tear

  • Length of Tenancy: The longer the tenancy, the more wear and tear is generally expected.

  • Number of Occupants: More occupants usually mean more wear and tear.

  • Quality of Items: High-quality fixtures and fittings are expected to last longer.

Tenant Responsibilities

  • Routine Maintenance: Tenants are expected to perform routine maintenance like changing light bulbs and keeping the property clean.

  • Report Damages: Any damage beyond fair wear and tear should be reported to the property manager immediately.

Landlord Responsibilities

  • Regular Upkeep: Landlords are responsible for repairs and maintenance that fall under fair wear and tear.

  • Clear Guidelines: Providing tenants with a clear guideline on what is considered fair wear and tear can prevent disputes.

Common Examples

  • Acceptable: Faded paint, worn carpets, loose door handles.

  • Not Acceptable: Large stains on the carpet, holes in the walls, broken windows, mouldy bath and shower sealant.

Understanding what constitutes fair wear and tear can help both tenants and landlords manage expectations and avoid disputes. Always refer to your Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreement and consult your property manager for specific guidelines.