FAIR WEAR & TEAR & FINAL INSPECTIONS

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When carrying out an inspection with a tenant to determine the final condition of the property and bond refund, we must compare the condition of the property at the commencement of the tenancy to the end of the tenancy and allow for “fair wear & tear”. The definition of “fair wear & tear” is something that occurs through normal use or is the normal changes that take place with the ageing of the property.

This statement is obviously open to interpretation and can often be seen as a grey area within property management, particularly when carrying out final inspections. So where do we draw the line? What is a tenant responsible for and what is a landlord responsible for? This has been an ongoing challenge for many years. It is a challenge that we as property managers have to deal with every time a tenant vacates a property.

You can be assured that our office adopts high expectations and standards when it comes to carrying out the final inspections. Albeit, we are starting to discover that our expectations and standards are sometimes considered above the industry standard of what the legal (tribunal) system considers acceptable, allowing for “fair wear & tear”. When a tribunal considers the issue of “fair wear & tear” (cleaning, damage and/or repairs at the end of the tenancy) they will take into consideration some of the following issues: just to name a few…

· How long have the tenants resided in the property?

· How many tenants resided in the property?

· Age of the property, fixtures & fittings (i.e. age of the carpets or last date the property was painted, etc)

· Current depreciation status of the items in dispute

· How was the property presented to the tenant at the commencement of the tenancy?

Some areas that can be open to interpretation:

· Marks on walls

· Marks on carpet

· Marks on window coverings

· Holes in screens

· Cleanliness (i.e. oven, stove, windows, light fittings, light switches, skirting boards, etc)

It is our internal practice to send tenants a final cleaning guide highlighting important areas that need to be addressed prior to vacating. We also ensure that we accurately and thoroughly document the condition of the property at the commencement of the tenancy on the entry condition report, to minimise disputes at the end of the tenancy. We will continue to adopt the policy “if it was clean when a tenant moved in, then it will have to be the same when they move out”, however, you need to appreciate that in some circumstances it may be necessary to arrange for a cleaner to give the property a post-tenant clean to allow for the issue of “fair wear & tear”.

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