What Is Normal Wear & Tear?

Life can be messy. Sometimes, the excitement of bringing a new 65-inch smart TV into the living room results in small scrapes along formerly unmarked ivory walls. Other times, we love having the morning sun flooding into the living room every morning while we drink our coffee. So much so, that we don’t notice the carpets fading in colour over time.

It happens, right? This is common wear and tear. It’s just the byproduct of life.

However, a glass of cabernet sauvignon knocked in fits of laughter onto a white shag carpet is not general wear and tear. Neither are the scratch marks on the bedroom door left by a moody Persian cat wanting its breakfast. These are cases in which the repairs are your tenant’s responsibility.

In this article, we break down what is wear and tear and what isn’t, so you aren’t left scratching your head when your tenants vacate and leave a couple of surprises behind.

(Credit: Craig Adderley on Pexels) Cat scratches are not general wear and tear, so your tenant needs to pay for the repairs

Walls/ceilings

WEAR & TEAR

  • The plaster cracking as the building settles
  • A small number of scuffs and tiny marks
  • Fading paint due to sun damage
  • Worn paint around light switches

DAMAGE

  • Holes left behind by picture hooks
  • A Sharpie homage to Picasso left by the tenant’s child
  • Large holes, scratches, and scuffs
  • Unapproved, poor quality paint jobs
  • Paint damage left from Blue-Tack
  • Smoke damage from cigarettes being smoked inside or from candles placed too close to a wall

(Credit: Devanath on Pixabay) Cracks caused by the house settling is considered general wear and tear

Carpet

WEAR & TEAR

  • Worn down carpet in high-traffic areas such as hallways
  • Discolouring due to sun damage
  • Fraying or tearing at the edges if the carpet is older than 5 years (the natural lifespan of most carpet)
  • Water stains if there had been a reported leak during tenancy
  • Furniture indentations

DAMAGE

  • Large stains
  • Pet damage
  • Burn marks
  • Water stains from preventable incidences such as an overflowing sink or a pot plant

(Credit: WKN on Pexels) If there is carpet damage because of pets, that’s not general wear and tear

Hardwood floors

WEAR & TEAR

  • Small scuffs
  • Discolouration from sun damage

DAMAGE

  • Furniture indentations (your tenants should be putting rugs or pieces of carpet underneath heavy furniture on hardwood floors)
  • Water damage from indoor plants
  • Deep scratches
  • Pet damage

(Credit: Filios Sazeides on Unsplash) A rug or carpet should always keep heavy furniture from denting wooden floorboards

Bathroom

WEAR & TEAR

  • Silver finishings wearing away
  • Grout discolouring due to age
  • Mirror discolouring and warping due to age

DAMAGE

  • Chipped or broken tiles
  • Broken or cracked mirrors

(Credit: Imani on Unsplash) You can expect some wear and tear damage to taps as they age

Windows

WEAR & TEAR

  • Loose hinges
  • Worn sliding tracks
  • Light scratches
  • Small cracks if they are reported straight away

DAMAGE

  • Smashed windows (excluding breaks caused by storm damage which should always be reported as soon as they occur so they can be replaced immediately)
  • Ripped screens
  • Cracked panes from slamming windows shut

(Credit: Gere on Pixabay) If breaks aren’t reported immediately, they’re considered damage and tenants will have to pay for the repairs

Other little things

WEAR & TEAR

  • Garden mulch breaking down over time
  • Light scratches and marks on countertops
  • Loose door handles
  • Faded or frayed curtains

DAMAGE

  • Gardens dug up by pets
  • Deep scratches from cutting directly onto countertops
  • Burns on countertops
  • Missing handles or locks
  • Curtain or blinds damage caused by cats

At the end of the day, the rule of thumb is this; normal wear and tear is the expected decline of a lived-in property. Anything unexpected that is not caused by natural disasters is neglect and property damage.

At Hutton & Hutton, we try to minimise the damage to your property by conducting regular and thorough routine inspections. So, you can rest assured you won’t be left with too many nasty surprises when your tenants vacate.

(Credit: Hutton & Hutton) Your property management team at H & H will do regular routine inspections on your behalf

Brisbane Inner North Inner East Brisbane Landlords
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What Is Normal Wear & Tear?