One of the most challenging areas for a letting agent or landlord is the determination of what is known as fair wear and tear as opposed to damage of fixtures or the actual property itself.

Allowance can be made at the start of any tenancy agreement, with an attached cost for scheduled re-decoration and replacement of goods which are at the end of their natural life, however determining what falls into this category compared to unexpected damage and the consequential costs can sometimes be a grey area and one which inventory clerks are required to make a call on.

Here, iSurvey outlines the factual-based process inventory clerks shall follow, when making a decision on fair wear and tear:

  • an assessment of fair wear and tear and depreciation values are based on APIP and ARLA guidelines as well as those laid down by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Decisions made by Inventory Clerks take into consideration key criteria from the tenancy agreement, the original signed inventory and any subsequent visit reports. Repairs and replacements undertaken during the term of the tenancy are also considered, when making a decision
  • the type of tenant (family, single occupancy etc) the length of tenancy and whether clauses within the tenancy have been agreed (pets, smoking etc) shall also come into a play when scaling the damage versus natural wear and tear.
  • Rental property contents, décor and fixtures all have a typical, standard life expectancy and are assumed to be of medium quality at the start of any new tenancy . This guage allows the inventory clerk to establish fair wear and tear more easily based on an expected usable lifespan
  • Depreciation is calculated using a simple, standard formula: REPLACEMENT COST OF ITEM divided by LIFE EXPECTANCY (months) = RATE OF DEPRECIATION (per month) x NO. OF MONTHS the item has been in service = TOTAL DEPRECIATION. REPLACEMENT COST less TOTAL DEPRECIATION = DEPRECIATED VALUE

It must be noted that expected use under any tenancy agreement should also be taken into consideration; eg a family of five shall use a washing machine more than a single person, or a carpet shall receive more wear and tear from a family – these considerations must also be reflected in any decision on fair wear and tear.