Posted on March 24, 2021 at 1:45 PM
It is a commonly used phrase in lettings, but what does it mean
If an item deteriorates due to wear and tear then the landlord is responsible for the repair/replacement cost. If it has deteriorated due to damage then the landlord can pursue the tenant for reimbursement of the cost or repair/replacement. The landlord can apply for a deduction from the tenant’s deposit or apply for a payment order from the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing & Property Chamber).
So how do you distinguish between wear and tear and damage? It isn’t a precise science. Wear & tear is defined in case law as follows:
“Reasonable wear and tear means the reasonable use of the house by the tenant and the ordinary operation of natural forces.”
Some typical examples are as follows:
Item Wear & tear Damage
Carpet Worn, compacted and discoloured from footfall A burn mark, red wine stain or tear
Paintwork Scuffs and light scratches on walls Pen marks, stains from spillages, a hole or deep gouge
Appliances A part needing to be replaced because it has suffered mechanical failure due to age/normal use A crack in a salad drawer in a fridge, a bra wire becoming stuck in the mechanism of a washing machine
The amount of wear and tear you should expect in your property depends on:
The quality of the item – some items are made to last longer than others
The age of the item – a 5-year old carpet will have been subjected to more wear than one that is just a year old
The number and age of the occupants – a property will experience more wear and tear if it is occupied by a family with children than if it is occupied by a single person who is out at work all day
The length of their tenancy – the longer the tenancy, the more wear and tear the landlord should expect
In order to be successful in claiming against the tenant for cleaning/damages it is vital to have a thorough opening and closing inventory/schedule of condition report including photographs of any damage. The landlord/agent will also need estimates/invoices showing the repair/replacement cost.
Safedeposits Scotland have an excellent guide to product lifespans which will help you work out if deposit deductions are justified and how much to claim.