Floor wear & tear

Question from JACK updated on 8th January 2018:

What is regarded as fair wear and tear on wooden floorings? Our landlord wants us to pay complete charges for sanding & rebuffing for a scratch when there was only light surface scratches that existed when we moved in & he wants us to pay for the entire flooring equivalent to 14m3. Please advise.

Our expert Bernard Parker responded:

Fair wear and tear is one of the difficult questions to answer. What is fair to one person may be described completely differently by another. It depends also upon the circumstances and the agreement as to what people would be living in the property.

You (and the landlord) will need to take another look at the damage at end of tenancy and compare it with the condition at the start of your tenancy. (It certainly helps if you have before-and-after photographs for comparison.) Then ask yourselves the question: “is the difference reasonable wear and tear over the duration of the tenancy, for the people who were agreed to be occupants?” If the level of damage was unacceptable in the circumstances, then you may have to have the floor repaired.

If you cannot agree on what is “fair wear and tear” or whether the floor has been damaged beyond what is reasonable, then you may need to apply to the Tenancy Tribunal for a ruling in your specific case.

Bernard is principal of Quinovic – Kapiti-Mana. Quinovic's outstanding people and systems provide the most professional, effective and reliable residential property management service in the NZ market for over 22 years.

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