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How is fair wear and tear defined in a tenancy agreement?

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In brief - my friend on moving from his private rented accomodation after living there for four years, has not only had his £1,000 deposit retained but has been presented with a bill by the landlord for just under £3,000 for:


Washing curtains

Repainting of internal walls

Steam cleaning oven

Replacement of a fridge (reported on numerous occasions as faulty)

Replacment of a new bath (small chip which has always been there)

Replacment of 2 cream carpets (admittedly they did have some cigarette burns and staining).


Invoices were presented for these items, all were just one quote.


In addition the landlord is claiming loss of income on the property since vacated inspite of my friend giving notice and no inspection being made.


The tenancy agreement was very basic referring to 'fair wear and tear', no inventory was given, the landlord visited on ocassions and at no point remarked on the condition of the premises. Upon departure from the premises the landlord took a video of the property but there is no 'benchmark' of the condition of the property prior to my friends occupation.

Based on the contract and the term 'fair wear and tear' the case has now been referred for arbitration from the court.


I puzzle over what is defined as 'fair wear and tear' regarding a tenancy of over four years. I also wonder what the outcome will be as the landlord (a wealthy property dealer) plays the cards i.e. had a court summons sent to the old address (knowing my friend had moved and having his new details!!) this resulted in a warrant being sent to my friend for non appearance at court.

Any comments or advice please?

Edited by moral interventionist
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Landlord will probably lose if no inventory, as there is no baseline comparison.


Fair wear and tear is basically any detoriation of condition of the property or its contents through normal daily use. In other words, fair wear and tear is ALL "damage" that was not caused by negligence.


Impossible really for us to say what was fair wear and tear here, as we would need to see the original and current condition of the property. But to give you an example, cigarette burns are NOT fair wear and tear. Oven cleaning IF the oven was not cleaned regularly does not constitute fair wear and tear.


Also be aware of "betterment" - i.e. the landlord can only charge for "like for like" replacements etc.


Does your friend have proof of notification of the damage to the fridge?


Was the tenancy renewed with a new agreement each year/6 months? When was the last contract signed? How much was the total monthly rent?

7 years in retail customer service


Expertise in letting and rental law for 6 years


By trade - I'm an IT engineer working in the housing sector.


Please note that any posts made by myself are for information only and should not and must not be taken as correct or factual. If in doubt, consult with a solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.


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I was advised that awards to the landlord would also be reduced in proportion to the length of tenancy as compared with the item's lifetime.


eg. I was advised that a rented property would be repainted every 3 years, so redecoration after 4 could not be charged (unless there is further damage such as torn wall paper or damaged walls).


Also carpets would have a lifetime of, say, 7-8 years, so the landlord could only charge half.


For a chip in the bath, you should get a quote from a bath repairer. It is likely that they could have repaired the bath to a good standard for less than the replacement loss. This is besides the fact that the landlord would have to prove you caused the chip.

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