Thrive Property NT

What is Fair Wear and Tear?

tenant red wine stain

As a landlord, you will expect a level of everyday wear & tear that occurs in your rental property over a period of time, despite ongoing care and maintenance. These items are to be expected. 

Fair Wear and Tear means the deterioration that occurs over time with the use of the premises even though the premises receive reasonable care and maintenance. Such deterioration could be caused by exposure, time or just by ordinary use.

Everyday wear and tear and negligent or irresponsible damage can become a bone of contention between landlords, agents and tenants. It is wise at the start of any tenancy to make clear what is considered everyday wear and tear so that all parties are on the same page.

What is considered reasonable wear & tear?

Reasonable wear and tear occurs even though adequate care and maintenance has been taken and as a result of ordinary use. The tenant is not required to cover the repair costs for reasonable wear and tear. It comes down to the responsibility of the landlord.

Everyday wear and tear is considered:

  • To be caused by the everyday use of the rental property
  • Is unintentional
  • Due to age and use
  • Is expected

Examples of wear and tear include:

  • Wearing of carpets and floorboards
  • Rust
  • Faded curtains and timber
  • Flaking  or cracked paint
  • Cracks in walls

What is considered negligent damage?

Negligent damage on the other hand is caused by intentional actions by the tenant and they are therefore liable for the repair costs.

Negligent damage is considered:

  • To be intentional
  • Is caused by stains or burns
  • Is caused by pets
  • Is caused by mould or mildew due in insufficient airing
  • Is caused by the tenant breaking something intentionally
  • Is unexpected

Examples of negligent damage include:

  • Pet stains
  • Burns or stains on carpet
  • Rips in curtains
  • Smashed windows
  • Broken locks due to forceful entry
  • Holes in walls

What happens if my tenant causes negligent damage?

A tenant should never cause intentional damage to their rental property. If a tenant does cause intentional damage to the property, they should notify the landlord or agent immediately for action. They are also liable for the repair costs.

In the Territory, if a dispute arises over the condition of the premises or in relation to an intentional damage claim, either party can apply to the Northern Territory Civil & Administrative Tribunal (NTCAT) for determination.

It is strongly advised that a detailed condition report be carried out at the commencement of each new tenancy. That way, you have photos and documentation of the condition of the property at the start of the lease. You cannot argue with hard, cold images that detail the condition of the property.

It is also important to  carry out regular periodic inspections to ensure the ongoing condition and maintenance of the property. This will also help alert you to any upcoming issues of regular wear and tear that might need actioning in the near future.

Thrive Property NT prides itself on the quality of their work, including thorough entry condition reports and routine inspections. This attention to detail ensures our clients assets are protected and maintained to a high standard.