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When a tenant vacates: Cleaning, repairs or fair wear & tear?

By Tash Johns

The tenant/s have just vacated your investment property.  The property manager has a copy of the original condition report (the only legal evidence that can be taken into consideration to release the bond) and attends the property to undertake the final inspection.

The property manager enters the property and observes:

The griller is dirty, there is a chip on a kitchen tile, marks on the lounge room wall, walk-way wear marks down the hallway, slight mould on the bathroom tiles, a soap holder has been broken off, there is a crack in the toilet seat, a dent behind the bedroom door from a missing door stopper, dust in the window tracks, small tears in several fly screens, a wardrobe rail has broken off, there is a bleach stain on the bedroom carpet and weeds in the garden.  It seems like a long list of things that require attention.

Who is responsible… is it cleaning, repairs or fair wear & tear?

Whenever there is a dispute, it is always good business practice to try and mediate the situation between all parties to come to a win/win situation or a compromise.  If an outcome cannot be reached between the parties, the matter will have to be determined by a hearing at the tribunal/courts, which will vary depending on the circumstances.  The tribunal/courts will take into consideration:

  • How old the property is?
  • How old the fixtures and fittings are that require repairs, taking into consideration depreciation (the diminishing value)?
  • How long did the tenants reside in the property?
  • How many tenants resided in the property?

If the property is six-months old, has almost brand-new fixtures and fittings and there were two tenants residing in the property for six-months, this could be considered cleaning and repairs that the tenant needs to action.  However, if the property is 18-years old, with the original fixtures and fittings (that have depreciated over time in value), had a family of six reside there for five-years, then this could be considered fair wear and tear and an owner/landlord expense.

We will always discuss the final inspection with you and explain our understanding of the situation in accordance with legislation requirements, while taking your instructions into consider

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