What is classed as "General Wear and Tear"

So we often get asked by Tenants and Landlords what is classed as General wear and tear and what can I and can’t I deduct from a tenants

So what exactly is fair wear and tear?

If certain items were worn at the start of the tenancy, but are now damaged, this may be fair wear and tear. For example: if carpets and curtains are threadbare, then normal use during the tenancy could cause them to be ripped. One way of avoiding grey areas is to ensure at the start of the tenancy that all aspects of the property are in a state that could not deteriorate further from normal wear and tear.

If the property was in a clean and tidy condition at the start of the tenancy, then you can expect to receive it back in a similar state. If it is dirty, you can retain a portion of the deposit consistent with the reasonable cost of having it cleaned. But note, you can only retain money to make the dirty areas clean, i.e. restore it to reasonable condition. If the kitchen is clean but the bathroom is not, it is reasonable to hold back money to have the bathroom cleaned but it wouldn’t be reasonable to have the entire house cleaned. Make sure you keep cleaning receipts to prove that costs were incurred and reasonable.

As a side note, a landlord cannot expect to receive the property back in a better condition than that in which it was at the beginning of the tenancy. Clauses in the tenancy agreement that insist on professional cleaners, or on certain items (such as windows) being cleaned will be deemed unfair and void if the property was not of the same standard when the tenants moved in.

Deductions your landlord can make:

If you don’t look after the property you rent or don’t pay the rent, your landlord can keep money back from your deposit as compensation/ Your landlord must tell you what they’re deducting money for and how much for each item.

They can only deduct money to cover:

  • Damage to the property
  • Missing items
  • Cleaning costs
  • Any unpaid rent

Your landlord must return what’s left of your deposit after the deductions. Your tenancy agreement should include details of what your deposit covers.

Damage to property:

You should return the property to your landlord in the same state it was when you first moved in, but allowing for wear and tear.

Your landlord can’t deduct money from your deposit for normal wear and tear, but they can for damage.

Examples of wear and tear are:

  • Worn carpets
  • Scrapes and scuffs on the walls
  • Faded curtains

Examples of damage are:

  • A burn hole, iron mark or nail varnish spill on a carpet
  • A hole punched into a wall
  • Torn or missing curtains

Your inventory should state the condition of the walls, paintwork and carpets when you move in.

If your landlord does need to replace what you’ve damaged, they should do so on a like-for-like basis. For example if you damage a cheap, old mattress, you shouldn’t have to pay for a top-of-the range brand new one.

Cleaning costs

You should leave the property clean and tidy when you leave. But you shouldn’t have to pay to make it cleaner than it was when you first moved in.

Check your tenancy agreement. It may say that you must clean the carpets and curtains to a professional standard before you move out.

Keep receipts for any cleaning that you do or pay for and ask for your landlord’s receipts if they pay for cleaning.

Please contact us at Belvoir Macclesfield or your local Belvoir branch should you have any questions or require any further advice.