Most property rental contracts allow for reasonable wear and tear during the course of the tenancy, but who decides what is fair and when wear and tear becomes damage?

Noisy NeighboursA fair tenancy agreement will include an inventory, which details the state of repair of certain items such as carpets and white goods. A landlord should replace or repair anything that is in a poor state, and the landlord and tenant should be in agreement about the condition of the property and its contents before the tenancy begins.

Whether you are a tenant or a landlord, it is vital to protect yourself legally. Here at Irwin, Kilcullen & Co Solicitors, we are experienced in property law and can help to ensure that your contracts are watertight, preventing any major problems during disputes that arise in the future.

What Is Acceptable Wear And Tear?

  1. Furniture. If you are a landlord or tenant of a fully or part-furnished property, you must ensure that all of the contents are included on the inventory, and that the approximate age and condition is noted. It is considered as reasonable wear and tear if small scratches or areas of wear develop over time, but large rips, gouges or damage that make the item unusable can incur costs to the tenant to repair or replace. Replacements need not be new items, but should be like for like depending on the original condition of the item.
  2. White goods. If the property rental in question includes white goods, the condition these are in at the beginning of a new tenancy should be noted. Any problems that develop with appliances should be considered according to the age of the appliance and whether it has been used appropriately. For example, a washing machine that has been used correctly for many years may eventually break due to age, and this would require replacement by the landlord, but if a newer machine was damaged due to incorrect use by a tenant, he or she would be required to pay for a repair or replacement.
  3. Flooring. It is to be expected that flooring will incur wear and tear during normal usage, such as carpets wearing down or laminate flooring becoming worn. As a landlord, it is essential to ensure that you select appropriate flooring for all areas of the property to avoid accidental damage in high traffic or wet areas. Flooring that is damaged by stains, tears, deep scratches or burn marks cannot be attributed to normal wear and tear, and the tenant will be liable for this.
  4. Window dressings. Where window fittings are included in the tenancy agreement, these can be expected to sustain a normal level of fading and wear. However if curtains or blinds are broken, burnt or stained, this will be the responsibility of the tenant.
  5. Wall coverings. A tenancy agreement should specify what is acceptable in terms of putting up pictures and decorations, and most specify that holes made by picture hanging, for instance, must be made good when the tenancy ends. Marks on the walls are to be expected during the course of a long tenancy, but if these are unreasonable, the tenant may be required to repaint or wallpaper.

Talk To Experienced Solicitors in Cork

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