“That Is Not Accidental Damage It’s Wear And Tear!” Investment Property Accidental Damage VS Wear & Tear
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.
About Jhai Mitchell
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 TheHomePage.com.au, 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.