When is ‘fair wear & tear’ really fair?

20 August 2018

When is ‘fair wear & tear’ really fair?

“We’ve certainly found that the best way to avoid any disagreements at the end of a tenancy is by having a strong inventory at the outset,” says Lily White, Director of Henry Adams Lettings in Chichester

‘Fair wear and tear’ used to be one of the most frequently heard comments arising when a tenancy comes to an end usually.

It usually refers to some relatively minor damage caused during the occupation which the tenants believe is not their responsibility to remedy but it can’t be relied on if there is genuine damage to a property.

“As soon as a new tenant moves in, a good inventory clerk will check the property thoroughly and report, in detail, directly onto a tablet computer, “ Lily explains. “This ‘walk round’ is carried out with the tenants so any items of disrepair can be noted and any questions answered about the inventory report.

“After the inventory is completed, the tenant and the inventory clerk will both sign the front page on the tablet and the inventory is emailed to the tenants. Although it can take quite some time, the more detail that’s noted at this stage, the less likelihood there is of any disagreement later on.”

Guidelines for what’s acceptable are laid down by the governing body for independent inventory clerks and by PropertyMark ARLA. Various judgements made either in court or by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) are also taken into account.

When combined, these form a distinction between ‘damage’ which needs reparation (and for which the landlord can retain part or all of the deposit), and ‘fair wear and tear’ - for which a retention is not permitted.
“In all cases the deposit belongs to the tenant and the landlord has to prove a case of damage in order to propose a deduction,” advises Lily. “That’s where a good inventory, check-in report and check-out report, are invaluable in resolving any issues more quickly and easily.”

For more advice about buy-to-let investments, lettings and rentals, contact Henry Adams Lettings in Chichester on 01243 537704. You can also visit your local Henry Adams office in Chichester, Bognor, Storrington, Petersfield, Haslemere and across the region.

Go to news hub