Vacating a Rental Property: Wear and Tear or Damage?

Vacate cleaning - is it wear and tear or damage

If you’re vacating a rental property, you’re likely to hear the term, wear and tear.

The requirement in Western Australia is to vacate a rental property in the same condition it was in when you moved in, minus fair wear and tear. It’s not uncommon for complaints or disputes to arise about fair wear and tear. As well as disputes about whether you have to pay for damage accrued during your tenancy. If your landlord deems you liable for damages, they will take the expense of repairs from your bond.

Fair wear and tear is defined as: damage that occurs to a property through reasonable, everyday use.

This includes, for example, wear to carpet in high traffic areas and sun fading of curtains and wooden floors. It can also include chips and flaking of wall paint and cracks in walls from building movement.

By contrast, you will be responsible for neglectful damage. That is, damage accrued not through the regular everyday use of the property.

For examples stains on the carpet, lost keys or remotes, and any damage accrued by pets.

What falls under wear and tear may depend on the length of stay of the tenant.

If you occupy a house for a decade, and there is a lot of damage to the walls, it may be fair wear and tear.

If you occupy a house for six months, the same damage may not be fair wear and tear.

For any disputes about damage when you vacate a property, your Property Condition Report is going to be your best evidence. For more information about disputes and your Property Condition Report check out our article about your rights and responsibilities as a tenant.

You may also find this guide for tenants from the West Australian government a useful reference.

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