What Constitutes Normal Wear and Tear in Rental Properties?
Fair wear and tear under the RTA
Though it is not defined under the Residential Tenancies Act of 1987, Section 38 describes the tenant’s duties with regards to general cleanliness and repairs.
It is the tenant’s responsibility to keep the premises reasonably clean. In case of damage, notify the landlord within three days. Tenant must also ensure not to cause or allow damage to be caused, either on purpose or by being careless.
A rule that all tenants must remember is to report any damage whether it was caused by them or not. Do this in writing and keep a copy of the letter.
Generally, a tenant is not responsible for fair wear and tear. However, you must carefully read your tenancy agreement because a landlord can easily dodge their responsibilities through a written agreement.
When does fair wear and tear become an issue?
Fair wear and tear notwithstanding, the tenant, at the end of the lease, must return the property to the condition it was at the start of the tenancy.
Fair wear and tear is taken into account when evaluating the condition of a rental property at the end of tenancy. The Entry Condition Report accomplished by the tenant at the start of the tenancy and the Exit Condition Report accomplished by the tenant at the end of the tenancy are compared to determine the condition of the property.
A dispute arises when there are inconsistencies between the two reports.
It is best to accompany these reports with detailed photos or even videos. These can be very helpful for avoiding or even settling disputes. And add care and consideration to proper documentation, disputes and a possible trip to the bond court can be avoided.