Fair wear and tear policy statement

Important update on Homes for Reading Ltd. – February 2024

Following a review of the company’s financial situation, Reading Borough Council is considering whether the company will continue as a separate entity.

Homes for Reading stopped buying new properties in 2019 following a number of changes to the financial context in which the company operates. While the company has continued to provide housing management services to current tenants since that time, these arrangements will need to be brought to an end if a decision is made that the company will cease trading.

All Homes for Reading tenants are now being consulted on the course of action the Council should follow. If a decision is taken to wind up the company, tenants will be allowed to remain in their homes until at least the end of their current tenancy agreement. They will also be provided with support and assistance in finding new accommodation.

Homes for Reading Ltd. (HfR) is committed to providing a good service across all its business activities and it expects tenants to respect and maintain properties in accordance with the Tenancy Agreement.

In situations where it is consider necessary to make a claim against a deposit, HfR will:

  • Provide copies of the property inventory at the point of sign-up to record the condition of the property;
  • Seek to provide early notification of issues during routine inspections failing due during the tenancy term;
  • Provide advice to tenants and how to remedy issues if requested to do so;
  • Arrange directly for certain services to be undertaken at the request of the tenant;
  • Provide a copy of the closing inventory when a tenancy comes to an end;
  • Record and notify the tenant of the reasons why a claim against the deposit has been made;
  • Operate reasonably and within the law;
  • Publicise the existence of our complaints procedure so that people know how to contact us to make a complaint;
  • Promote access to the Property Redress Scheme in the event we are not able to resolve your complaint satisfactorily;
  • Review the policy objectives yearly

Mark Green – Managing Director: 13/12/2018

The picture shows a signature from Mark Green

Sarah Hacker – Chair: 13/12/2018

The picture shows a signature from Sarah Hacker


Homes for Reading Ltd. (HfR) requires a Tenancy Deposit to be held in a Government approved deposit scheme to safeguard against loss or damage to a property it owns beyond fair wear and tear during a tenancy.

This Policy sets out situations when such instances entitle HfR to make a claim from a tenants deposit to address and put right damage of loss caused by the tenant. It also sets out, how the cost will be calculated, taking into account considerations set out in law governing how deposits can be used by landlords.

Defining and determining Fair Wear and Tear:

A tenancy deposit is not like an insurance policy, which may offer ‘full replacement value’ or ‘new for old’ on items which are lost or damaged. The law states that a tenant cannot be held responsible for ‘reasonable use of the premises…and the ordinary operation of natural forces (i.e. the passage of time)’.

While this definition is open to a wide variation in interpretation, there are two established legal principles which may be used for guidance:

A landlord is not permitted to use the deposit for ‘betterment’. This means that a landlord cannot expect to replace old with new, or charge for items which were soiled at the start of the tenancy to be cleaned at the end of it.

A landlord is not entitled to charge a tenant the full cost of having part of the property, or any fixture ‘put back to the condition it was at the start of the tenancy’. This means that a landlord is only allowed to charge a tenant ‘a proportion of the full cost’ of replacing or fixing an item, depending on a variety of factors.

In determining what is Fair Wear and Tear, allowance must be made for:

The original age, quality and condition of the item. Landlords are not permitted to replace old with new at a tenant’s expense. For example, a landlord may not charge the full cost of replacing a carpet which was not brand new at the beginning of the tenancy, even if the carpet is now in an unusable condition.

Depreciation. In the case of a carpet which was not brand new at the start of the tenancy, and which has been left in an unusable condition by the tenants, the amount chargeable by the landlord towards the cost of replacement depends on calculating depreciation.

For example, a £500 carpet in a family property might be expected to last for five years. Tenants moved in when the carpet was brand new, and lived in the property for two years. When they left, the carpet was so damaged that it had to be replaced. They were required to pay £300 from their deposit towards the cost of the carpet, which was calculated as follows:

  • Cost of similar replacement carpet: £500
  • Anticipated life of carpet: 5 years
  • Depreciation of carpet per year: a / b = £100 per year
  • Duration of tenancy: 2 years
  • Total payable for ruined carpet: c x (b – d) = £300

The reasonable expected usage of the item. The landlord must make allowances for normal living and the effect this will have a on a property over time, especially in long tenancies.

The number and type of occupants in the property. Tenants with children and pets, and tenants, who smoke, will put additional strain on a property during the tenancy. Where children, pets and smoking are permitted by the tenancy agreement, ‘fair wear and tear’ must take into account a reasonable amount of extra wear to the property caused by the normal everyday life of these tenants. This wear can still be considered to be ‘fair’ and therefore a deposit claim may not be appropriate.

The length of the tenant’s occupancy. How long the tenancy has lasted obviously makes a difference to the depreciation calculation. A carpet which might be expected to last five years, and which was already two years old at the beginning of a three year tenancy, may not be claimed for even if the tenants have caused severe damage to it. This is because it could reasonably be expected that the carpet should be replaced after five years.

Stipulations made in the HfR Tenancy Agreement


The HfR Tenancy Agreement states:
‘In accordance with the Fair Wear and Tear Policy, you must clean or arrange and pay for
the property to be cleaned to a professional standard at the end of the tenancy. This will

  1. The cleaning of any carpets shown in the inventory (if they have been soiled and marked during the tenancy)
  2. The cleaning of the kitchen including ovens and any domestic appliances which are included in your inventory (dishwasher, washing machine, fridge freezer etc.)
  3. The cleaning of any family bathroom, ensuite and WC.

If you do not do this, and the property is returned to us in a poorer standard of cleanliness to that in which it was at the point of letting, having regard for our Fair Wear and Tear policy, we will pay for the property to be cleaned and then charge you for the cost of the work.’

‘You must clean, or have cleaned, all the windows you can reasonably reach on the property
(inside and out) regularly and within 14 days of the end of the tenancy.


The HfR Tenancy Agreement includes details regarding a tenant’s responsibility for property maintenance, which includes outside areas and structures. Where tenants do not carry out maintenance which is specified in the Tenancy Agreement, a deposit charge may be made for the cost of HfR carrying out that maintenance when the tenancy comes to an end. During the tenancy, tenants are responsible for ensuring that drains, toilets, sinks and showers remain free flowing. The clearing of blockages is the tenant’s responsibility, and if HfR carry out unblocking work, this will be recharged to the tenants.

Damage and redecoration

The HfR Tenancy Agreement states:

‘You must repair any damage to the property or to our furniture and fittings (including
replacing them, if necessary) if you, a member of your household or one of your visitors
caused the damage. You must pay us any cost we have to pay to repair any damage or
replace any furniture and fittings if you fail to replace or repair anything under this clause,
having regard to our Fair Wear and Tear Policy.

You must repair and make good any wall or other surfaces on which you have hung
photographs, pictures, posters or any other items.

You must leave all our furniture and fittings (as shown in the inventory) in a good, clean
condition (apart from fair wear and tear) in the same rooms as they were in when you moved in.

You must pay the cost of redecorating any rooms or part of the property which you
decorated or changed without our written permission.’


Homes for Reading charge an additional £10 per month, per pet, rent for tenants who keep pets in their property. Permission to keep pets must always be sought in writing. Where tenants keep pets without permission, no fair wear and tear allowance will be made for wear on the property caused by these pets.

The HfR Tenancy Agreement states:

‘The tenant agrees to:

  • Pay for the property to be professionally cleaned with de-infestation cleaner at the end of the tenancy if de-infestation is necessary. The tenant will be liable to compensate the landlord for any losses suffered due to flea infestation.’


The required level of property maintenance, cleaning at the end of the tenancy, and de-infestation, where required, is accepted by the tenant when they sign the Tenancy Agreement and should be anticipated as a deposit charge if they do not complete it. Fair wear and tear will not be applied regarding cleaning and de-infestation, because clear guidance regarding these is made in the Tenancy Agreement. Repair of damage is the tenant’s responsibility, where stipulated in the Tenancy Agreement, but fair wear and tear principles will be applied to any deposit charge made.

Deposit return at the end of an HrF tenancy

The vast majority of tenancies end with HfR and the tenant being satisfied that the principles of fair wear and tear have been fairly applied and where each party agrees with the amount of deposit, if any, which has been retained by HfR.

If agreement cannot be reached, tenants have recourse to the MyDeposits appeal process. Details can be found on the MyDeposits prescribed information provided at the beginning of each HfR tenancy.

HfR also subscribes to the Property Redress Scheme which is a Government approved scheme for dealing with issues relating to property management and landlord businesses. Details are listed below:

Property Redress Scheme:

Premiere House, 1st Floor
Elstree Way

T: 0330 321 9418
E: info@theprs.co.uk
W: www.theprs.co.uk

In both instances, it is likely that both organisations will require the complainant to have raised the concerns with HfR and for the complaint to have been reasonably investigated through HfR’s Complaints Policy. Detail of the Complaint’s Policy is available on our website at www.homesforreading.co.uk

HfR’s standards of life expectancy in property


Family Occupancy10 years
Single/Couple Occupancy12 years

Painted Walls

Family Occupancy5 years
Single/Couple Occupancy7 years


Family Occupancy12 years
Single/Couple Occupancy12 years

Examples of fair ware and tear vs. chargeable damages

ItemFair wear and tearChargeable damage
Painted wallsScuffs, finger-marksMultiple nail or pin holes, chips or dents. Repainted a different colour without authorisation.
Wallpapered wallsminor scuffs, fading caused by sunlightTears, dents.
Curtains/nets/blindsDiscolouration and fading caused by sunlightBurns, stains, tears, broken mechanism
CarpetFading caused by sunlightBurns, stains, tears
Laminate flooringNicks, minor dents and surface scuffs, loose trimDrag marks, deep scratches or scrapes, stains, burns, missing trim
White goodsDiscolouration due to sunlight, fading of printing due to cleaning, limescaleDamage caused by misuse, missing shelves or turntables
Kitchen units and worktopsLight scratches, fading/watermarks around taps, loose handles, misalignment of drawers and cupboard doorsBurn marks, ‘lifting’ of laminate due to water damage, missing handles or hinges
Tiled floors and wallsMinor scuffs and loose whole tilesChipped, broken. or missing tiles
WindowsCondensation between panes, broken sash cordsBroken or cracked glass, bent hose
ShowersWear of electrical components (average lifespan of electrical shower = 4 years)Broken or missing shower head or hose
Electric socketsLoose screws, scuffsBroken socket covers
GardenWorn grass, discolouring to patio slabsBroken patio slabs, damaged sheds, damage to fencing
GarageScuffs and scrapes, door discolouration and weatheringBroken locks and doors, damage to the structure, lighting and electrical supply
Heating and electrical systemsScuffs and scrapes, discolouration due to sunlight, fading of printing due to cleaning, limescaleDamage to boilers, water tanks, radiators, TVRs
Last updated on 21/02/2024