How does one define “fair wear and tear”?

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Bigfellah | 16:12 Mon 04th Jul 2011 | Civil
4 Answers
Dear all - this is a repost I originally had under the "Interior" section of the "Home & Garden" listings.

I have tenants, a family who have been in the house for four years. I have now been approached by the managing agent with a list of items that the tenant wants me to have done in the house.
1. Bath tub and shower in the main bathroom is leaking very severely to such an extent that the tenants can’t use the bath.
2. In the main bathroom the toilet seat joints are loose and needs fixing.
3. Kitchen door latch broken and door swollen from all the rain.
4. Ceiling in spare bedroom paint has started to peel.
5. Oven coming loose out of the cabinet it is installed in
In the lease agreement, the lessee:
“Is responsible for the maintenance of the interior of the premises, fair wear and tear excepted”
“Shall properly maintain and where necessary repair and/or replace at his cost, any doors, door handles, locks and keys, glass, window fasteners, electrical fittings and fixtures, bath, basins, sanitary wear, water taps, etc.” and again fair wear and tear excepted.
Main question is how does one define “fair wear and tear”?
Once that is answered do all the above items fall under tat definition?
Other landlords may have some advice on this.
Thank you very much.


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personally i would be inclined to go and have a look. Stuff such as bathroom leaks are really in your best interest to repair - where is all the water going to? WHAT other damage is this leaking causing? Personally i don't think leaks are the fault of the tennant. Re toilet seat, you would think they could just get a screwdriver themselves, but perhaps they dont have one?
Obviously i can't see it, but o wouldn'y have thought peeling paint would cause loss of enjoymentt of the house, however, as i said it's in your best interests to maintain it, and if they are good tennants, it's not worth losigj them over small jobs like this
id say the leak is yours, the swollen door is yours, and the oven is yours - they are faults...

the rest of it id say they could deal with...and has been caused by general wear rather than a fault
As a tennent, I would expect you to fix probelms, 1, 3 (swollen from rain), 4 and 5. Adjusting toilet seats and broken door latches shouldn't be a problem but a leak in a bath, swollen door from rain, a ceiling in need of painting and the oven coming lose to me are all things that landlord should deal with as they're not wear and tear but actual problems with the property.

We (read 'he') has done some painting in our rented flat recently because we knew the landlord wouldn't pay and it bothered us sufficiently to do something about it so perhaps ceiling painting is arguable. Although if the place hasn't had a lick of paint in four years, a bit of brightening up on the ceiling seems reasonable to my way of thinking but that could just be a personal opinion.
I have always been a tenant and would expect the landlord to deal with all the above items as the are all repairs to the property. The toilet seat may not seem like it and I must admit to having replace toilet seats before in a property but I have also had deposit deducted for doing so and not informing the landlord of the fault!

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