Fair Wear and Tear Guide
By |Published On: 24th February 2015|

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Fair Wear and Tear Guide

By |Published On: 24th February 2015|

This article is an external press release originally published on the Landlord News website, which has now been migrated to the Just Landlords blog.

Landlords can spend a lot of time and money ensuring that their property is appropriate for renting. Landlords will aim to achieve the highest rent possible, and they naturally expect their tenants to respect the work gone into their rental home.

However, some landlords do not expect, or budget for, wear and tear. This is an area that can become expensive, but is ever difficult to judge. Some items within a house need replacing before others, yet within the lettings industry, it can be difficult to determine whose responsibility this is.

Fair Wear and Tear Guide

Fair Wear and Tear Guide

The law states that fair wear and tear is damage or deterioration that follows normal use, or is a normal change that occurs due to the property ageing. If any damage or deterioration is the result of ordinary everyday use, then the tenant cannot be reasonably charged for refurbishing the property, or specific items within it.

For instance, if the carpet in the hallway is low quality and was new at the start of the tenancy, it may have visible wear marks at the end of the tenancy, two years later. This cannot be the tenants’ fault, because such wear is likely from a cheap carpet.

LettingCheck use a simple guide to determine what constitutes fair damage, when they conduct an inventory using their app.1 Learn more about what they do here. Number 3 indicates fair wear and tear.


  1. Brand new, unused condition – possibly still in wrapper or with new tags/labels attached.
  2. Good condition – signs of slight wear, generally lightly worn rather than marked/scuffed.
  3. Fair condition – signs of age, frayed, small light stains and marks, discolouration.
  4. Poor condition – Extensive signs of wear and tear, extensive stains/marks/tears/chips. Still functional.
  5. Very poor condition – Extensively damaged/faulty items, large stains, upholstery torn and/or dirty, pet odours/hairs.

Tenants have a duty of care to leave the property how it was when they moved in. However, landlords cannot expect to have old fixtures and fittings replaced at their tenant’s expense.

Some examples of fair wear and tear include:

  • Cracked windowpanes due to old frames.
  • Scratched or chipped woodwork paint.
  • Faded or discoloured wall/ceiling paint.
  • Cracked plaster or brickwork.
  • Structural moving causing cracks in the floor or wall tiles.
  • Worn carpets from daily use.
  • Marked kitchen counters by utensils.
  • Accidental marks on walls.
  • Normal use causing wear to white goods.

Fair wear and tear does not include any intentional or careless damage caused by tenants or their guests at any point during the tenancy.

Examples of damage not covered by fair wear and tear include:

  • Door/window glass or frame cracked from being slammed.
  • Paint discolouration from regular candle or cigarette smoke.
  • Damage by hammer/screwdriver rough use.
  • Minor damage that became worse because it was not reported sooner.

Landlords should always ensure that they have a thorough inventory at the beginning of the tenancy, to make it easier to identify fair wear and tear at the end.

1 http://www.propertyflock.co.uk/f/F06AD5564

About the Author: Em Morley (she/they)

Em is the Content Marketing Manager for Just Landlords, with over five years of experience writing for insurance and property websites. Together with the knowledge and expertise of the Just Landlords underwriting team, Em aims to provide those in the property industry with helpful resources. When she’s not at her computer researching and writing property and insurance guides, you’ll find her exploring the British countryside, searching for geocaches.

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