The concept of fair wear and tear has been the cause of many bond disputes over time!
Unfortunately, this situation and occurrence is likely to continue, as the term itself is not clearly defined in any Act or Regulation that applies to property or property management.
The RTA provides the following limited guidance on the subject of fair wear and tear:
“Normal use and ageing may affect the condition of a rental property over time. At the end of a tenancy the tenant must return the property to the same condition it was in at the start of the tenancy. Fair wear and tear should be considered when assessing the condition of the property.”
Link: Residential Tenancy Authority – Fair Wear & Tear
Every individual situation will be different, so it can sometimes be difficult to provide specific advice without a detailed understanding of the history and background of a property and its condition. There are however a few things to keep in mind. Normal use is not just specific to the item in question, for example carpet, but also in the context of the approved tenancy. The idea of ‘normal’ use will have a different measurability for different rental situations. If you have rented to a single person, couple or to a family with three small children, the idea of use will be different for each of the groups.. This needs to be considered at the point of application approval for all tenants.
Additionally, should there be damage considered beyond fair wear and tear, compensation is typically based on the depreciated value of the relevant item, in addition to the proportion of the item that may have been damaged. For example, a small dent to a wall in a hallway does not mean that you can claim the cost to paint the entire wall after patching works. You may decide to do that, but a portion of that cost will be borne by the owner.
The above provides an overview and some pertinent points, but as always there are significant online resources available to assist owners and investors in educating themselves and understanding this all important part of the function of managing property.
Of course, the team at Collins Gregory Real Estate are more than happy to explain the process and accommodate you as an owner when handling these sorts of situations.