Whether you’re a tenant or a landlord, you’ll be familiar with the clause in your rental agreement that states that fair wear and tear is acceptable, but that a deposit may be forfeited for damage. This is an important clause that can have large financial implications, so it’s important to be clear that you understand what it means.

Here at Irwin, Kilcullen & Co Solicitors, we specialize in property lawand we will be happy to help you to secure your interests in a rental property. Talk to us if you believe your landlord is acting unfairly towards you, or if you are a landlord wishing to protect your investment and your property.

What is Fair Wear and Tear?

In the interests of clarity, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what is acceptable in a rental property and what is not. A basic explanation may include the following:

1.    Wear vs damage. Anything that serves a purpose within a home, such as floor coverings and soft furnishings, for example, will become worn as time goes on. Carpets will be flattened, and furniture and curtains will fade, and this is classed as fair wear and tear. Damage that goes beyond this, and would not have been reasonably expected, such as stains, burns or rips, does not count as fair, and would usually incur a repair charge or loss of deposit.

2.    Acceptable damage vs unacceptable damage. It’s important to be reasonable about the nature of wear and tear. For example, if the tenancy allows for pictures to be hung, it would be unreasonable to cite the nail holes in the walls as unacceptable damage. If, however, a child living in the property has done some re-decorating of their own on the walls, this will usually be viewed as unacceptable damage, and will need to be painted over or fixed.

3.    Old vs new. A full inventory should be shared at the beginning of a tenancy, and any problems that arise will then be obvious. If something has been damaged that was not new at the beginning of the tenancy, this need not be replaced with a new item. The landlord can only request a like-for-like replacement of damaged items.

4.    Returned deposit vs deposit retained. In some circumstances, a landlord may decide that it is necessary to retain a deposit in order to cover the costs of damage done to the property during the tenancy. If a tenant and a landlord disagree about the extent of damage or the retention of a deposit, it is important to seek legal advice to ensure a fair outcome.

Find Property Solicitors in Cork

If your looking for a property solicitors in Cork and legal advice and guidance around a property matter, we will be on hand to work with you for a positive outcome. Contact Irwin, Kilcullen & Co Solicitors for a free consultationwithout obligation. Simply contact us online or call us today on +021 4270934 to talk to our experienced and helpful team.