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What constitutes Fair Wear and Tear in Tenanted Properties?

February 18th 2019

An ongoing issue for owners of investment property is dealing with maintenance; roofs leak, trees need pruning, heating systems need servicing and floor coverings need replacing.

So what is the responsibility of owners and what should tenants cover?

While there are guidelines within the Residential Tenancies Act as to what owners or tenants are responsible for, not every scenario is explained, so some careful checks need to be applied. This is particularly tricky due to the many changes in recent years removing liability from tenants for careless damage (see TT Practice Note 2016/1)

As a general rule, the following should be applied:

  • Owners are responsible for:
  • Fair wear and tear such as; tap washers, replacing worn flooring or window coverings, (unless caused by tenants or tenants guests causing damage such as burns or stains), heating and a/c servicing, repair or replacement of appliances existing at the time the tenancy is started. Repairs from causes such as burglaries, or from natural events such as storms, floods or earthquakes; insurance excess costs. Costs due to changes within tenancy law, such as installing additional insulation.
  • Tenants are responsible for:
  • Intentional damage by tenants or guests Damage caused by an imprisonable offence Notifying the landlord as soon as possible of repairs needed, or risk claims made from the owner for the damage worsening.
  • Landlords:
  • Carry out regular property inspections which include assessing repairs or improvements needed Schedule regular servicing of appliances and heating and cooling systems Plan preventative maintenance Understand what is covered in your rental insurance policy.
  • Tenants:
  • Take care to prevent damage Advise landlords if the home or grounds need repair. Have adequate insurance cover to protect yourself from liability.