Fair wear and tear continues to be one of the biggest challenges we face when a tenant vacates the property and is the leading cause of disputes at the end of the tenancy. The term is not specifically defined in the Act and provides no examples, which leads to the interpretation becoming complex.
What is considered fair to a landlord or a tenant is a grey area and if an unresolved dispute arises, it will often lead to a tribunal court hearing decision. Fair wear and tear is what happens during the normal use of a property taking into consideration the age of the property, the term of a tenancy and the number of tenants residing at the property. In the case of wear, this might mean fading paint work on internal and external walls caused by sunlight over time. In the case of tear, this might refer to disrepair caused by a tenant through ‘unintentional’ action or through the ‘normal’ incident of a tenant’s occupation. This might include the accidental ripping of aged and worn flyscreens or carpet, fading paint or general marks on the wall, cleaning above and beyond fair, cracks due to age or gardens/mulching deteriorating over time to name a few. We aim for perfection, but if a dispute arises we must be fair.