What constitutes reasonable wear and tear? It’s a question often asked by landlords and tenants, and can be an ambiguous topic. Landlords and tenants often have a very different view of what constitutes damage to a property. In this article, specialists in property maintenance Manchester based RFM Trading clear up some of the confusion, and provide advice for tenants.


In the kitchen, your landlord won’t mind some light scuffs on work surfaces and walls. These are part and parcel of everyday life, and are to be expected. However, you may be liable for damages if you burn the worktops, or cut into them when chopping without a board. If you leave greasy marks or heavily marked areas on the walls, you may also be held accountable.

If wallpaper has been used in your kitchen and it begins to peel, you shouldn’t be charged. Wallpaper should not have been used in such a high humidity environment in the first place.

Communal Areas

Wear and tear is to be expected in communal areas with a high footfall, such as a lounge, and is known to be higher in properties with a greater number of tenants. Light scuffs to paint in these rooms, as well as anywhere else in the house, counts as wear and tear. However, if there is evidence of deep scrapes, screw, nail, and drill holes, sellotape and blue tack marks, or holes in the plaster-work, you will be charged for damage beyond the remit of reasonable wear and tear.

If wallpaper fades or scuffs, you should not be charged, but if you damage it so that parts of the paper peel away or rip, your landlord can deduct money from your deposit. Over time, furniture will develop worn patches and light marks, which is reasonable wear and tear. However, if you rip or tear the fabric, or leave deep gouges, you will be charged.

Everywhere Else

Remember that you cannot repaint a room to your liking unless you have the express permission of the landlord. Doing so is classed as damage, and you will be charged to return the room to its former state. Similarly, unless it is permitted in your tenancy agreement, you will be charged if you have smoked in your property. Cigarette smoke stains furnishings and walls, and leaves a lingering smell. These effects can be costly to remedy.

Flattened carpets in areas of heavy use, and where furniture has been placed on them, is counted as wear and tear. If you have burnt or heavily stained a carpet, however, you will be expected to pay. Similarly, it is normal for wooden floors to become scuffed, but if these scuffs become deep gouges or scratches, you will be held liable.

Curtains are bound to fade with time; you won’t be charged for their replacement if that happens. But if you tear or remove them, you will be.


If you have pets, you should take extra care that they do not scratch walls and doors. Don’t install cat flaps or make any changes to the structure of your home without your landlord’s permission. It could count as damage. Your landlord can also make deductions from your deposit if they have to cover costs for cleaning pet hair and odours. However, if no damage is done, your landlord cannot deduct money just for owning a pet, even if doing so was against your tenancy agreement.

If Your Landlord Wants to Make a Deduction

Remember that regular cleaning and maintenance will reduce the chances of damage to a property. If your landlord does deduct money from your deposit, they cannot improve a property at your expense. Any replacements they make must be like-for-like, and if they do upgrade items in the property, they themselves must pay any costs above the value of the original item. The deductions should be proportionate to the damage which has been attributed to you. Additionally, the landlord must justify why all, or a portion, of the security deposit was retained.

How Experts in Property Maintenance Manchester based RFM Trading Can Help You

If you want advice on maintaining your home or carrying out property maintenance Manchester based RFM Trading are here to help. Contact us on 0161 707 6106, email sales@rfmtrading.co.uk or complete the contact form here.

If you are a landlord looking for advice on reasonable wear and tear, read the blog post here.