Wear and tear

Wear and tear

Wear and tear is an often vague term that is manipulated entirely by the perspective of those who define it. While some would argue that a mere scratch is indicative of wear and tear, others would say wear and tear includes a wall falling down, as ‘It would have fallen down naturally anyway’.

Of course, the subject of what constitutes as ‘wear and tear’ is at the height of importance for landlords. If you were renting a family home to middle class aristocrats, the most wear and tear expected would be a coffee stain on a cushion they could easily replace themselves. In other residencies, wear and tear could be something entirely different. Obviously, wear and tear is in the eye of the beholder.

How to combat a tenant who is trying to proclaim that boarded up window, or that mouldy bath is ‘wear and tear’ is very simple. There is one perfect way of discovering wear and tear, which a landlord can easily do: ask for proof, in the form of photos.

As a case study, student housing is a hive of experience with wear and tear is evident.  A person renting a house that has a desk half collapsed, a wall covered in crayon and stains on the mattress would count as a high level of untreated wear and tear. After cleaning it up a little bit and resisting the urge to buy a new, the landlord demanded that it was beyond wear and tear, and had to pay a substantial amount of my deposit in order to rectify damage.

But the tenant, before moving in, took pictures of the house, and the room, with time stamps to prove that the wear and tear was already present. So did the housemates, as they imagined that the green patch developing in the corner of one of the housemate’s bedroom wasn’t just simple wear and tear.

With that, the landlord had to concede and promised to give them back the full deposit, as he didn’t know the extent of the wear and tear produced by the previous tenants. So a warning to every landlord out there: check the houses that you own for wear and tear before the tenants move in, as it is the proof needed.

If you would like to discuss anything about fair wear and tear please call us on 0208 660 0104