That Is Not Accidental Damage It’s Wear And Tear!” Investment Property Accidental Damage VS Wear & Tear

trashed investment Property

Some land­lords in Seven hills and Toongab­bie have ideal­istic expect­a­tions that their prop­erty will stay in exactly the same con­di­tion at the end of the lease as when ten­ants first move in. The truth of the mat­ter is that, over time, wear and tear on a rental prop­erty will hap­pen. Land­lords should expect a level of dis­sip­a­tion on their rental prop­erty while it is being tenanted.

At this point, you might be ask­ing: What exactly is the dif­fer­ence between acci­dental dam­age and wear and tear of a prop­erty? Acci­dental dam­age is gen­er­ally some­thing that is an acci­dent and not planned or inten­tional such as a hole in the wall caused by ten­ant mov­ing fur­niture. Wear and tear, how­ever, occurs nat­ur­ally and inev­it­ably simply because people reside in the prop­erty such as cracked, chipped or faded paintwork.

Examples Of Acci­dental Damage

  • Burns or cuts in bench top
  • Hole in the wall caused by ten­ant mov­ing furniture
  • Cracked floor tiles caused by drop­ping heavy items
  • Unap­proved paint job
  • Broken win­dow caused by a child throw­ing a ball through it

Examples Of Wear And Tear

  • Worn kit­chen bench top
  • Foot traffic marks on carpets
  • Scuff marks on floor coverings
  • Faded, chipped or cracked paintwork
  • Faded curtains/blinds, frayed cords

Other types of dam­age include mali­cious dam­age and delib­er­ate damage.

Mali­cious dam­age is dam­age which was motiv­ated by malice or vin­dict­ive­ness with the inten­tion of caus­ing dam­age. An example is holes kicked/ punched in walls. Delib­er­ate dam­age is anact that will alter the cur­rent state of an item; how­ever the act is car­ried out without any malice. An example is put­ting pic­ture hooks into walls without permission.

Although tailored land­lord insur­ance may cover claims for acci­dental or mali­cious dam­age, wear and tear is gen­er­ally excluded and can­not be claimed.

Paint­work can be taken as good example of this. In gen­eral, you should expect an interior paint job to last from 7 to 10 years. How­ever, this is depend­ent on the qual­ity of the paint, expos­ure to smoke and amount of traffic through the room. For that reason, you can expect faded, chipped or cracked paint­work if your ten­ant has been in the prop­erty for sev­eral years.

In insur­ance terms, the paint­work has not been dam­aged acci­dent­ally or mali­ciously, but may be in a plaus­ible con­di­tion given the tenant’s time in the property.

All ele­ments of a prop­erty have cer­tain life spans and require upkeep from time to time

Whether its an invest­ment prop­erty or your own home. Even liv­ing in your home, over time there will be signs you have lived there, but this weath­er­ing can­not be claimed on insurance.

It often hap­pens that land­lords don’t see the prop­erty dur­ing the time of ten­ancy up until the ten­ant leaves, which could be years later. This may be why land­lords con­fuse wear and tear for acci­dental dam­age. There­fore, it’s import­ant for your prop­erty man­ager to carry out reg­u­lar inspec­tions and advise you on the prop­er­ties up keep.

A good way of keep­ing abreast of the state of the rental prop­erty is through com­par­ing the present con­di­tion with the ini­tial report and pho­to­graphs taken at the start of ten­ancy agree­ment. This will help ascer­tain what dam­age, if any, has been caused.
Another area of con­ten­tion some­times can be ‘poor house­keep­ing’. This is when a ten­ant keeps a prop­erty in a poor con­di­tion but where no dam­age has occurred. It can con­sist of ten­ants who do not clean up after them­selves, don’t reg­u­larly clean areas such as car­pets, ovens and bath­rooms or air out the house. Wear and tear and poor house­keep­ing are not gen­er­ally covered in an insur­ance policy.

Your prop­erty man­ager should out­line to the ten­ants at the out­set of the lease the expect­a­tions of tidi­ness, look after the prop­erty and so on. Make sure that they are aware that any dam­ages or main­ten­ance is repor­ted to prop­erty manager’s office imme­di­ately and that these are resolved in a timely manner.

You need to remem­ber also that reg­u­lar main­ten­ance on your part will lead to the longev­ity of your prop­erty so that you can con­tinue to profit from your invest­ment for pro­longed period of time.

As a land­lord, if you have any issues with a dis­pute with your ten­ant in regards to what’s acci­dental dam­age or nat­ural wear and tear, don’t hes­it­ate to con­tact our rental expert team for advice.


Jhai is an award win­ning Inter­net Mar­ket­ing Real Estate Agent for Eld­ers Toongab­bie and Kings Langley. After run­ning his own inter­net mar­ket­ing busi­ness he has now set his own sites for the real estate industry. He observed that 90% of real estate agents did not know how to mar­ket them­selves online. Jhai is now fixed on one goal. To teach real estate agents that they can mar­ket online so much bet­ter than they cur­rently are.

Since then he has been con­sist­ently quoted in the Sydney Morn­ing Her­ald and Real Estate Busi­ness online. He is a reg­u­lar guest blog­ger on, shar­ing his expert­ise of mar­ket­ing aspects for the Real Estate Industry. His biggest pas­sions are his wife, mar­tial arts, dogs and most of all property.

seven hills real estate agent NSW
Cnr Federal Road Prospect Highway Seven Hills NSW 2147 Australia