Updated: Jun 22, 2020
At the end of a tenancy, you may believe that your rental property should be returned to you in the exact same condition as it was at the start of the tenancy - this is not the case!
As the landlord, you’re not entitled to end up financially or materially better off than you were at the start of the tenancy or would have expected to be at the end of the tenancy.
Why? Because of fair wear and tear. There aren't any definitive rules on what is meant by fair wear and tear, however, it can be explained as the deterioration or 'damage' that happens to the property and its contents, fixtures and fittings by the tenant through normal and reasonable use. So when you assess fair wear and tear at the end of the tenancy you must make allowances for:
The age, quality and condition of any item at the start of the tenancy
The average useful lifespan of the item
The reasonable expected usage of such an item
The number and type of occupants in the property
The length of tenancy
To help you assess whether any damage is in excess of fair wear and tear an inventory check should be completed and agreed with the tenant at the start of the tenancy. The inventory should document the condition of the items with photos to evidence this which you can compare at check-out. You should also keep receipts for all the items that you have purchased or invoices from any work you have had done at the property for proof of age this will help you cover all bases should you get into a deposit dispute with your tenant.