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Wear and Tear- what is deemed acceptable?

Posted on 2013-04-03

According to The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC); ‘landlords have unrealistic expectations of wear and tear’. They have found more and more landlords are attempting to include additional damage into check-outs without any photographic or written evidence to support it.

It’s thought when deposit disputes are independently adjudicated, the tenant wins in 90% of cases. According to landlords win only 8% of deposit disputes.

So what is deemed as ‘wear and tear’ and what is deemed as ‘damage caused by the tenant’? As you can imagine it is a very subjective issue, but common sense must prevail.

Pat Barber, Chair of the AIIC comments, “There is a distinct difference between fair wear and tear and actual damage – for example carpet tread will flatten over time, where there has been foot traffic, but cigarette burns, stains or soiling will require a charge”.

Pat Barber goes on to say, “Normal wear and tear is a fact of life with rental properties, just as it would be at home. The best way to landlords and agents can ensure that the property’s condition is fully recorded, is by having a comprehensive inventory in place at the start of any new tenancy, and that a thorough check-in and check-out report is completed.”

Rental Housing Online has compiled a useful list to help landlords distinguish between ‘wear and tear’ and ‘tenant damage’:


Wear & Tear


Worn out keys

Lost keys

Loose or stubborn door lock

Broken or missing locks

Loose hinges or handles on doors

Damage to a door from forced entry

Worn and dirty carpeting

Torn, stained or burned carpeting

Scuffed up wood floors

Badly scratched or gouged wood floors

Lino worn thin

Lino with tears or holes

Worn countertop

Burns and cuts in countertop

Stain on ceiling from rain or bad plumbing

Stain on ceiling from overflowed bath

Plaster cracks from settling

Holes in walls from kids or carelessness

Faded, chipped or cracked paint

Unapproved (bad) tenant paint job

Loose wallpaper

Ripped or marked-up wallpaper

Faded curtains and drapes

Torn or missing curtains and drapes

Heat blistered blinds

Blinds with bent slats

Dirty window

Broken window

Loose or inoperable tap handle

Broken or missing tap handle

Toilet runs or wobbles

Broken toilet seat or tank top

Urine odour around toilet

Urine or pet odour throughout unit

Sliding door off track

Damaged or missing sliding door



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