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As a tenant, you are not responsible for costs arising from ‘fair wear and tear’.

Sometimes it can be difficult to agree on what is normal fair wear and tear.

Neglectful damage (You are liable)

  • Stains or burns from things you dropped or placed on carpets
  • You forgot your key and broke a lock to get in
  • Mould and mildew has formed because the dwelling was not aired properly
  • Your pet damages the curtains

Fair wear and tear (The landlord/property manager is liable)

  • Carpet wear in corridors or other frequently used areas
  • A lock broke because it was old and had worn out
  • Paint flaking because it is old or was not applied properly
  • Curtains fade from years of sunlight

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Who is responsible for the damage?

You must not intentionally or negligently damage your rental property. If you cause damage, you must notify the landlord or property manager as soon as possible and expect that you may need to pay for repairs or replacement.

However, if the damage is caused by a third party not directly connected with you, or who you did not invite onto the premises, or by an event outside of your control (flood, break-in, traffic accident), then repairs become the property owner’s responsibility.

If your own possessions are damaged by a problem, such as a ceiling collapsing, then you may be able to claim the costs from the property owner.

If your landlord/property manager damages your possessions while they are on the premises, they are liable for the damages.

Are your contents covered?

As a tenant, it is your responsibility to take out your own home and contents insurance to cover your personal belongings – this can cover for you for damage and loss from various sources such as theft, water damage, fire and other natural disasters.

The property owner’s building insurance, if they have it, will not cover your possessions.

You might also like:
– Your shared responsibilities in a tenancy
– 5 ways to avoid tenancy disputes
– What changes can I make to my rental property?