Renting can be stressful, and rental agreements are often packed from top to bottom with weasel words, with ‘wear and tear’ being one of the more egregious examples.

For those unfamiliar with the term, ‘reasonable wear and tear’ is damage to the property that tenants do not have to pay for.

After all, landlords and real estate agents understand that renters are ordinary people with ordinary lives who don’t walk around their home with cotton-wool on their feet.

Nobody expects a house to stay in pristine condition – hell, the second law of thermodynamics rules that disorder only increases; the same is true of your rental property.

Check out what is considered to be reasonable wear and tear:

But there lies the all-important question. What does reasonable wear and tear actually entail?

It’s stressful to think about as a renter – how are you meant to know whether that scratch on the floor is going to be considered reasonable wear and tear, or if your landlord is going to take out a chunk of your bond in order to pay for it?

Let’s help explain it to you. Basically, ‘reasonable wear and tear’ is considered any ‘natural’ damage to your house. Say you have hardwood floors like I do. Hardwood floors are notoriously easy to damage: even rolling back and forth on chairs will leave ugly black marks.

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And those very ugly black marks are perfect examples of reasonable wear and tear.

‘Reasonable wear and tear’ is considered any ‘natural’ damage to your house.

So is slight damage to walls that results from posters being pulled off. So is worn hinges. So are scuff marks on the floor. So is rust to your front gate. So are cracked window frames.

These are all instances of ‘reasonable wear and tear’ because they are instances of damage that happen through no fault of the tenant.

What’s an example of damage that isn’t reasonable wear and tear? Well, if your child gets out a compass and scores lines in the hardwood – that’s not reasonable wear and tear.

Check out an explanation of reasonable wear and tear:

Neither is any kind of damage that involves some kind of active agency on your part. So unfortunately, if you throw a party and burn your house down – that’s not reasonable wear and tear either.

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