Where do I stand as a landlord if the tenant damages the property?

landlord-coolum-beach-realestateThis is not a simple question to answer. Yes, we would like to make the tenant accountable for every scuff mark and chip when vacating the property, but the reality is there are legislated ‘grey area’ guidelines that are taken into consideration.

Firstly, it needs to be determined that it is property damage and not ‘fair wear and tear’. Fair wear and tear is something that occurs through the normal use of the property. This may vary from tenancy to tenancy depending on the circumstances.

A brand new two bedroom apartment with two professional working tenants residing in the property for six months would expect less fair wear and tear than a four bedroom with parents and three children who resided in the property for five years.

If a dispute arose, the condition of the property at the commencement of the tenancy (property condition report form) would be compared to the end of the tenancy, taking into consideration fair wear and tear and the age/depreciation of the item in some cases.

Neglectful damage could be considered as punching a hole in the wall or a dent in the garage door from the car where there are no grey areas. However, marks on carpets and walls, tears in screens or window coverings, dust and general marks could be considered fair wear and tear depending on the circumstances.

Our agency has high standards and expectations of the tenant when vacating – but if there is a dispute and you want to avoid the tribunal/courts a compromise may need to be reached. For example: should a tenant who has marked 10 year old carpet throughout the property (that was in reasonable condition) be expected to replace it with new carpet at 100% their cost or should it be 20% their cost 80% owner cost due to the age/depreciation of the item? The answer to that question will depend on the Registrar/Magistrate hearing the case should an agreement not be reached between the parties.

Each item needs to be assessed on a case by case scenario.  If you are not sure and need some advice let me know.  Kate Tomba 5446 1133

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