What is “Fair Wear and Tear”?

When landlords or inventory clerks carry out tenancy reports, including check-in, inventory reports, mid-tenancy reports and check-out reports, they are advised to document the condition of a property.

When reports such as these are created, they have to document detailed information about the state of each individual room and can be supported by images. Part of this process includes considering and not overlooking what is “fair wear and tear”.

What’s This?

It’s a broad definition coined in the 1950s. In what is considered a landmark case (Warren vs Keen) , a landlord tried to recover costs to repair several property defects that he believed to be the tenant’s financial responsibility.

The judge, Lord Denning, ruled in the tenant’s favour. Although he acknowledged the tenant needed to look after the property, importantly, he stated:

“If the house falls into disrepair through fair wear and tear or lapse of time, or for any reason not caused by him, the tenant is not liable to repair it.”

He further noted that the tenant must:

“not damage the house, wilfully or negligently; and he must see his family and guests do not damage it: and if they do, he must repair it.”

So, for example, when a landlord or third party carries out a mid-tenancy report inspection, they are obliged to consider the “fair wear and tear” of a property.

“Fair Wear and Tear” key Considerations

When compiling a mid-tenancy report, it’s essential to bear the following in mind concerning “fair wear and tear”:

  • The age and condition of a property and its contents
  • The average or expected life expectancy of carpets, appliances, for example, ovens, washing machines, fridges and so on
  • The number of occupants residing in the property
  • The length of the tenancy
  • Whether or not a tenant has children or pets

Mid-Tenancy Reports and “Fair Wear and Tear”

Conducting mid-tenancy inspections can help landlords keep on top of repairs and maintenance to the property. In addition, they can be used to compare how the property looked when the tenancy began against how it looks when carrying out a mid-tenancy report.

An experienced inventory clerk can use free mid-tenancy report software (like ours) to accurately record the property’s condition. For example, you can note the difference between what is reasonable and fair wear and tear and actual damage.

Reports2Go has developed an app that will save considerable time when undertaking a free mid-tenancy report check. The app is free to use and supports the entire report lifecycle: inventory, check-in, check-out and mid-tenancy reports.

Dan, 21 October 2022
What is “Fair Wear and Tear”?

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