Landlords & Tenants, What is Fair When it Comes To Wear and Tear?

Man on step ladder painting
3 October 2018

One of the most common reasons for landlords and tenants to fall out is over deposit disputes when a tenant has moved out of a rental property. The online letting agents at LetBritain can help you manage the tenant check out process when you choose to let online instead of going to a traditional high street letting agent. 

We’ve created this landlord blog as a guide to helping you understand what is possible to claim from your tenant’s deposit and to help you avoid having a dispute with your tenant when they move out.

What is wear and tear on a property?

In essence, fair wear and tear is the amount of damage that is expected to naturally occur over the course of a tenancy, instead of being the result of the tenant neglecting or abusing the property.

Fair wear and tear vs. damage


  • Carpets – if the carpet has some areas of light wear or patches but hasn’t got holes or stains, typically after five years, this is considered reasonable wear and tear. Damage to carpets is usually in the form of stains, burns, rips or holes and damage caused by pets.


  • Wood floors – general areas of fading due to sunlight exposure, typically after 25 years are acceptable. However, deep scratches, missing floorboards or obvious rips are classified as damage.


  • Tiled floors – if the grout in-between the tiles shows signs of dirt or mould, or is crumbling, typically after 25 years, you won’t be able to deduct anything from your tenant’s deposit. If the tiles are chipped or missing then this is commonly classed as damage.


  • Windows – if the glass has been scratched lightly is worn in places or the hardware has become loose, typically after 20 years, this is considered fair wear and tear. Damage to windows includes broken glass, missing screens or the hardware has been broken.


  • Kitchen counters – surface scratches or watermarks typically after 20+ years are non-deductible items from your tenant’s deposit. Damage is when the counter has been burnt, chipped or stained.


  • Walls – over time cracks will naturally start to appear in the walls of a property due to settling, typically over a lifetime unless something is structurally wrong with the building. Damage is caused by holes or gouges exposing the plaster, or damage from hanging furniture or picture frames.


  • Paint – paint may fade over time due to exposure to sunlight, minor scuffing and continual use, typically over three years. Damage caused to paint however includes markings, scribbles, or additional painting with another colour without the landlord’s permission.


Many disputes between landlords and their tenants can easily be avoided if both parties are clear about what constitutes damage to a property caused by a tenant, and what is considered reasonable wear and tear resulting from the tenant’s occupancy of the property.

When you choose to let online through an online rental agent, like LetBritian, you can save yourself the potential for falling out with your tenant during the check-out process as we will handle this for you.

How to reduce the impact of fair wear and tear?

Landlords can reduce the impact of wear and tear on their properties by regularly carrying out maintenance checks and repairing anything that looks worn or damaged. This will help to keep their property in an overall good condition and is a great way of avoiding any grey areas that might crop up.


Online letting agents like LetBritain can help you manage your property investment, so you don’t have to worry about potentially having a dispute with your tenant during the checkout process. We offer landlords services such as routine inspections, property maintenance, tenant reference checks, rent split calculator, helping you work out what is a good rental yield and administrative assistance relating to a statutory periodic tenancy.  

Find out more about our online rental agent’s landlord services today.